Memphis coach never stops recruiting — even in the delivery room

Jeff Eisenberg
June 1, 2010

It was a question that might have seemed ridiculous if the recipient wasn't college basketball's hardest working young coach.

In an interview with Josh Pastner about the birth of his first child last Thursday, Commercial Appeal columnist Geoff Calkins asked the Memphis coach whether he took his cell phone into the delivery room. Of course, the answer was yes, though Pastner proudly noted he was making progress because it was on vibrate the whole time.

"I had to keep in touch," he said.

OK, but did you call any recruits?

"I did," he said.

So much for progress.

"I also told them where I was calling from," he said.

Any recruits who received a call from the delivery room had to be impressed by Pastner's level of interest, dedication and enthusiasm, but they should know this sort of thing isn't all that unusual for the Memphis coach. After all, this is a guy who studied game film in elementary school, sent detailed scouting reports of prep talent to top college coaches by age 13 and coached a Houston AAU program that included T.J. Ford and Emeka Okafor while still in high school.

To be fair to Pastner, he's beyond excited about the birth of his daughter and he was alongside his wife Kerri for all the important moments.

"I set a record for pictures," he said. "I went from six pictures to 188 in about five minutes. Then I started sending them to everyone."

And because Memphis fans are sensitive about anything remotely related to that orange-clad school to the east, allow Pastner to clarify how he and his wife chose the name Payten for their daughter.

"We have to spell it differently so people don't think it has anything to do with Peyton Manning," Pastner said. "Payten is a Memphian. She was born in Memphis. I want her to grow up with a true Memphis attitude. I want her to be kind, to hug people and to love life."

Those are goals any of us can appreciate.