LITTLE ROCK — Todd Day was comfortable coaching high school basketball in his hometown of Memphis the last seven years.
But Day, Arkansas’ all-time leading scorer and former NBA veteran, also felt the pull of college coaching. So, when he saw an opening at a school in his wife’s hometown, he made a call, which set in motion the chain of events that led to Wednesday, when he was named as the next men’s basketball coach at Philander Smith College in Little Rock.
“I’ve coached in semi-pro; I’ve coached in high school and junior high and AAU,” said Day, following a Wednesday news conference announcing his hiring on the Philander Smith campus. “It’s just another steppingstone in my career, and I felt it was time to make a change out of the high school scene.”
Day will take over for Sam Weaver, who spent five seasons as Panthers’ coach and athletic director. Weaver led them to the NAIA national tournament in 2012-2015, before resigning two months ago to become head boys basketball coach at Texarkana High School.
Day, 46, scored 2,395 career points at Arkansas in 1988-92, before being picked eighth overall by the Milwaukee Bucks. He also played with the Boston Celtics, Miami Heat, Phoenix Suns and Minnesota Timberwolves.
He spent the last two seasons as coach at Hamilton High School in Memphis, his alma mater, which followed five seasons at Memphis Academy of Health and Sciences. He has also coached Team Penny, a Memphis-based AAU team founded by former NBA All-Star Anfernee Hardaway.
Day said Wednesday that he plans to play an “exciting, up-tempo style of basketball.”
“I’m not one to put expectations on anything,” he said. “But I expect to win."
President Roderick L. Smothers hired Day while the school is also undergoing a search for a new athletic director, for which a search committee will be formed in July. Smothers said a salary figure for Day was not available Wednesday but that “it will be competitive.”
“I think Todd brings an element of professionalism that set him apart from the other candidates,” Smothers said.
Read Thursday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.