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Report: IUPUI hires Memphis ass’t Jason Gardner

Mar 28, 2014, 10:28 PM EDT

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It was announced earlier this month that Todd Howard would not return as head coach at IUPUI next season. Non-BCS level programs will sometimes wait until the Final Four weekend to make a decision, using the event as a semi-clandestine interview session, but athletic director Michael Moore did not want to wait an extra seven days — ESPN’s Jeff Goodman is reporting there is a verbal agreement between IUPUI and Memphis assistant Jason Gardner to be the program’s next head coach.

A former guard at Arizona, and an assistant under Josh Pastner for only one season (he also had a stint on Loyola Chicago’s bench), Gardner is an Indiana native, and Moore clearly has confidence that while he has only been a coach for several seasons, he is ready to lead his own program for the first time.

One benefit of this possible hire (since it has not been officially announced by the school) is how it affects the transfer of ex-Purdue guard Ronnie Johnson. While a Tiger, Gardner had been gauging Johnson’s interest in transferring to the AAC program, and now that he is at IUPUI, he could make a pitch from one Indiana native to another to restart his college career at the Summit League school.