Sometimes the college coaching carousel acts in funny ways.
Less than a week after Georgia Tech fired Josh Pastner as its head coach, the Yellow Jackets are turning to another Arizona alum to restore their basketball program.
Damon Stoudamire is finalizing a deal to become Georgia Tech’s new head coach, according to ESPN’s Pete Thamel and Jeff Borzello. Stoudamire has spent the last two seasons as an assistant with the Boston Celtics. He previously served as head coach of Pacific from 2016-21.
Stoudamire, 49 years old, has assistant coaching experience at Rice, Arizona and Memphis, the latter job working for the very coach he will now replace on the Georgia Tech bench.
Pastner was fired after seven seasons as Georgia Tech’s coach. He led the Yellow Jackets to the NCAA Tournament in 2020-21 but struggled over the past two seasons, going 27-38.
Pastner, a former walk-on at Arizona from 1996-2000, was deemed a coaching prodigy from a young age, known for his work ethic and ability to recruit top players.
Stoudamire, on the other hand, slowly built his coaching resume. After 14 seasons playing in the NBA, Stoudamire opted for a decidedly unsexy path into the coaching ranks, joining Rice in 2008 as director of player development.
From there he worked on the Memphis Grizzlies staff for two years, then joined Pastner’s Memphis Tigers program where he worked for two seasons. In 2013, former UA coach Sean Miller hired Stoudamire as an assistant. Stoudamire served at Arizona for two seasons before re-joining Pastner in Memphis for the 2015-16 season.
In 2016, Stoudamire accepted the Pacific head coach job. He coached the Tigers for four-and-a-half seasons, including a 23-10 finish in 2019-20.
Stoudamire left Pacific in the summer of 2021 to join the Celtics as an assistant.
The Portland, Oregon native is considered one of the top point guards to play Arizona and helped define the program as ‘Point Guard U’ in the 1990s.
As a junior, he led the Wildcats to the 1994 Final Four.