High Holidays

Wandering Jews: Former Tucsonans thrive in new locales – Josh Pastner

University of Memphis head basketball coach Josh Pastner, left, with Joe Jackson of the Memphis Tigers at a game against Centenary College on Nov. 12, 2010.

Josh Pastner is the head basketball coach at the University of Memphis. He is a former assistant basketball coach and player at the University of Arizona.


How long did you live here? How often do you return to Tucson? Do you still have family or friends here?

I lived in Tucson for 12 years. Loved every second of it. My in-laws live in Tucson and some of my best and most trusted friends still live in Tucson. I have not been back for a few years now.

 What was your favorite thing about Tucson?

The quality of life was great plus the weather all year round. Even the summer was OK for me. I do miss the mountains.

What did you learn or experience in Tucson that has most affected you in your present life?

Part of my fundamentals and building blocks were formed during my time in Tucson. I got my bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the UA. Like I said previously, some of my best friends reside in Tucson. Lots of great memories.

What big changes have occurred in your life since you left Tucson?

Since I left Tucson, I have gotten married, have a daughter and a stepson, and also I have become a head basketball coach at the University of Memphis.

How were you involved in the Tucson Jewish community?

I was heavily involved in the Jewish community in Tucson and was involved with the UA Hillel Foundation. I am a proud Jew so I wanted to be involved as much as possible.

 Would you return to Tucson to live if you had the opportunity?

I take my life day by day and really enjoy where I live now. We have a great Jewish population here and I am very happy with my quality of life in Memphis. I have been blessed to be at two great spots, Tucson and Memphis.

What has most surprised/delighted you about Tucson’s growth since you left town?

I am not surprised by the growth of Tucson because the city has a resort-like living style. A great place to live.

What would you most like to see change in Tucson if you were in charge?

No changes in Tucson. I think the mayor is doing a wonderful job of keeping Tucson as a great place to visit or live.

What’s the best thing about where you live now?

The people. I love the people of Memphis. Just like I love the people of Tucson, I love the people of Memphis.


For more “Wandering Jews” profiles, see Special Sections – High Holidays