It’s not hyperbole to say that Larry Finch is one of the most revered and beloved figures in the history of The University of Memphis – if not the entire city.
So it’s not that surprising to learn that UofM will be developing a park that will bear his name – and a statue that will bear his likeness. From UofM Media:
Larry Finch Memorial Park, which will include a statue of the late former Memphis Tiger All-American, assistant coach and head coach, will be located at a site to be chosen on the University of Memphis campus, UofM President M. David Rudd announced Thursday. A committee has also been appointed to plan the project.
Finch, who had his No. 21 jersey retired on Nov. 30, 1974, competed in more than 500 games in 25 years as a player and coach for the Tigers. Finishing his three-year playing career from 1970-71 to 1972-73 as the school’s all-time leading scorer with 1,869 points, Finch is currently ranked fourth behind Keith Lee, Elliot Perry and Rodney Carney. His 22.3 points per game career average remains a Memphis record.
“The values Larry Finch lived were a model for us all, embracing the strength of diversity, the importance of unity in the face of adversity and the singular power of hope,” said Rudd.
“Coach Finch was more than a coach,” said Penny Hardaway, UofM men’s head basketball coach. “He was also a father figure. He helped me grow as a person and a basketball player.”
Obviously, Finch earned this unique honor — you could even argue that it’s overdue. But with the entire city buzzing over both Tiger Football AND Tiger Basketball, the timing just seems right.
Check out Penny Hardaway, Elliot Perry and Andre Turner as they pay tribute to Coach Finch. And congratulations, Coach. We’ll see you on campus.