Faragi Phillips Joins Tiger Coaching Staff; Garrett Kelly Named Director of Basketball Operations
MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Memphis Tiger head men’s basketball coach Penny Hardaway has named Faragi Phillips, a proven coach with significant ties to Memphis, an assistant coach on his staff. Hardaway has also named Garrett Kelly Director of Basketball Operations.
Phillips spent the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons as an assistant coach under Jerry Stackhouse at Vanderbilt, which came after serving as head coach at Memphis’ Whitehaven High School for four seasons (2015-19) and Memphis’ Mitchell High School for four years before that (2011-15).
“Faragi is a great addition to our coaching staff,” Hardaway said. “I have known him for a long time, and he is a pillar in the Memphis basketball community. He is a high-energy coach and has a great defensive mind, and he will bring a lot to our program.”
During his time at Whitehaven, Phillips turned the Tigers into a perennial powerhouse. In each of Phillips’ four seasons as head coach, the Tigers won 20 games or more. In 2018 and 2019, Phillips led Whitehaven to back-to-back state tournament appearances, finishing as the state runner-up and a quarterfinalist. In 2017, Phillips’ team defeated nationally-ranked Huntington Prep in the ARC Hoopfest Classic, and a year later in 2018, defeated Chicago’s Whitney Young. Phillips compiled a 91-30 record as the head coach of Whitehaven.
Prior to his stint with Whitehaven, Phillips spent four years at Mitchell, leading the Tigers to four-straight state tournaments and back-to-back state championships in 2014 and 2015. Mitchell had only won seven games over a two-year span prior Phillips’ arrival. Phillips compiled a 108-29 record over a four-year span, while also winning four consecutive sectional championships, four-straight regional championships, and three city/county championships.
In 2019, Phillips joined Stackhouse's Vanderbilt staff as an assistant coach. From 2019-21, Phillips worked extensively in skill development, scouting, practice planning, player development, recruiting and academic development. He helped develop 2020 NBA Draft selections Aaron Nesmith and Saben Lee, who went 14th overall to the Boston Celtics and 37th overall to the Detroit Pistons, respectively. In 2021, Scotty Pippen, Jr. earned first-team All-SEC accolades as he set the school scoring record for a sophomore and finished as the SEC scoring leader at 20.8 points per game. Pippen was also second in the SEC in assists and steals and matched or increased his career-high point total six different times.
Phillips worked with Memphis-based AAU Circuit Programs Team Thad and Bluff City Legends (formerly Team Penny). In 2013-14, he coached with the Team Thad organization which featured notable players Terrence Davis, LaGerald Vick and Jeremiah Martin, who also played for Phillips while at Mitchell. In 2016-17, Phillips coached Team Penny and notable players including James Wiseman, DJ Jeffries, Alex Lomax and Chandler Lawson.
Phillips played collegiately at Mississippi Valley State from 1995-99, leading the team to the 1996 NCAA Tournament where they faced the Allen Iverson-led Georgetown Hoyas. A SWAC first-team all-conference performer, Phillips averaged 12.6 points in his four-year career and 20.9 points as a senior.
Kelly arrives in Memphis with a diverse background across all levels of basketball. Since 2016, he has worked with the NBA Assistant Coaches Program, which is designed to prepare former NBA and WNBA players for a transition into coaching and teaching. In 2022, Kelly also was the Technical Director for NBA Basketball School Italy, where he was responsible for running basketball camps throughout Italy and directed over 250 players and 35 staff members.
Previously, Kelly spent time as the Director of Basketball Operations at Siena (2013-15) and Radford (2011-13), was a head coach and General Manager in the Canadian Basketball League from 2015-18, served as head coach at Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School in Rabun Gap, Ga., from 2019-22 and was an assistant coach at Catholic University in Washington, D.C., in 2010-11.
Kelly earned his bachelor’s degree in Communications and Public Relations from Loyola (Md.) University in 2010, where he also played on the basketball team. He was an invited walk-on for three seasons before earning a scholarship for his senior season.
“We are excited to add a person like Garrett to our program,” Hardaway said. “He has seen the game at the highest levels, and he will bring that experience and knowledge every day when helping us run our program.”
The Tigers finished the 2021-22 season with a 22-11 record and the program’s first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2014. In four seasons at the helm, Hardaway has amassed an 85-43 record, four-straight 20-win seasons and the 2021 National Invitation Tournament championship in addition to the 2022 NCAA Tournament appearance.