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Penny Hardaway adds former Whitehaven and Mitchell High School coach to Memphis coaching staff

Faragi Phillips, who coached Whitehaven from 2015 to 2019 and Mitchell from 2011 to 2015, will be an assistant coach for Penny.
Credit: Vanderbilt University Athletics

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis Tigers head men’s basketball coach Penny Hardaway has named Faragi Phillips, a proven coach with significant ties to Memphis, an assistant coach on his staff. 

Phillips spent the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons as an assistant coach under Jerry Stackhouse at Vanderbilt, which came after serving as head coach at Memphis’ Whitehaven High School for four seasons (2015-19) and Memphis’ Mitchell High School for four years before that (2011-15).

“Faragi is a great addition to our coaching staff,” Hardaway said. “I have known him for a long time, and he is a pillar in the Memphis basketball community. He is a high-energy coach and has a great defensive mind, and he will bring a lot to our program.”

During his time at Whitehaven, Phillips turned the Tigers into a perennial powerhouse. In each of Phillips’ four seasons as head coach, the Tigers won 20 games or more. In 2018 and 2019, Phillips led Whitehaven to back-to-back state tournament appearances, finishing as the state runner-up and a quarterfinalist. 

In 2017, Phillips’ team defeated nationally-ranked Huntington Prep in the ARC Hoopfest Classic, and a year later in 2018, defeated Chicago’s Whitney Young. Phillips compiled a 91-30 record as the head coach of Whitehaven.

RELATED: Whitehaven High School Boys Basketball Team Feeds Homeless

Prior to his stint with Whitehaven, Phillips spent four years at Mitchell, leading the Tigers to four-straight state tournaments and back-to-back state championships in 2014 and 2015. Mitchell had only won seven games over a two-year span prior Phillips’ arrival. Phillips compiled a 108-29 record over a four-year span, while also winning four consecutive sectional championships, four-straight regional championships, and three city/county championships.

He helped develop 2020 NBA Draft selections Aaron Nesmith and Saben Lee at Vanderbilt, who went 14th overall to the Boston Celtics and 37th overall to the Detroit Pistons, respectively. 

RELATED: Memphis Tigers basketball adds Frank Haith as assistant coach

Phillips worked with Memphis-based AAU Circuit Programs Team Thad and Bluff City Legends (formerly Team Penny). In 2013-14, he coached with the Team Thad organization which featured notable players Terrence Davis, LaGerald Vick and Jeremiah Martin, who also played for Phillips while at Mitchell. In 2016-17, Phillips coached Team Penny and notable players including James Wiseman, DJ Jeffries, Alex Lomax and Chandler Lawson.

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