In his post-game news conference – which he arrived late to because he was greeting friends from Memphis – Pastner dusted off talking points from his seven-year tenure at Memphis. He took the Memphis job, at 31, only because no one else would take it. He noted again that Memphis won 70 percent of its games and that he won his first 150 games faster than any coach in Tigers history.
He noted that last season, despite all the rancor over the Tigers’ 2015-16 season, Memphis could have made the NCAA Tournament had the Tigers won the American Athletic Conference Tournament championship game, which it lost to Connecticut.
“However, there was a lot of noise,” he said. “There was no doubt about (that). I remember going to my TV show after we lose to East Carolina at home, and I went to the TV show on that Sunday night, and I didn’t know if Monday morning – because we were playing Central Florida on Tuesday – and I didn’t know if the president was going to call me and say, ‘Hey, you’re out of here.’ But fortunately, he didn’t. He stuck with me through the year.”
He didn't neglect to mention a stat that he has taken pride in. Among power-conference coaches, only two have gone the past eight years without a three-game losing streak – Calipari and him.
“So think about that now – there’s no three losses, and so I tell people, that’s hard to do,” he said. “And that’s a credit to the players that we had at Memphis and obviously the players for this year at Georgia Tech.”
He made sure to note that he wouldn’t be at Tech and in the ACC if not for Memphis. He acknowledged the opportunity he received from Calipari and Memphis administrators, five of whom he named.
In a text message later in the night, Pastner called the post-game recollecting with media part of a joyful night.
“I have done my cleansing before,” he said. “Tonight, I was just filled with positive energy, happy for the players and the program, and it was good to see old faces.”