Can Penny bring business back to Beale Street?

MEMPHIS, Tenn. —Business owners near the FedEx Forum are filled with expectations as Penny Hardaway is projected to take over for Tubby Smith as the University of Memphis head basketball coach.

Now, some business owners believe Hardaway could bring in more business.

Tubby has only been out the door for one day, but some Tiger fans are already looking towards bringing more money to Beale Street.

They think Penny is the man to bring more coins.

"I think its going to boom a little more with Penny here. It's time for the young coach again," Tiger fan Derek Little said.

Dennis Flanagan runs Silky O'Sullivan's on Beale Street.

He's been in the same spot for going on 20 years.

"Our business fluctuates based on how the Tigers are doing. It always helps when they are doing well, because it causes excitement," Flanagan said.

He says a winning team and a packed FedEx Forum has its perks.

"We are 50 yards from the front door. You get 50 yards away, and you're selling food and liquor," he said. "It's a boost."

Flanagan says he's seen a lot over the years.

"When I first started here, you could shoot a Canon down the street and not hit," he said. "The forum wasn't here. The Hampton was here, and The Weston was surrounded by parking lots."

He says he wouldn't mind revisiting the rush that came after games during Coach Cal's time as a coach.

"It was crazy. He took us to the NCAA every year. We almost won. Coach Cal, he was known for recruiting," Flanagan said.

It's been years since Hardaway walked on campus at The University of Memphis, but fans are hopeful he'll come back and coach the Tigers while bringing a boom in business in the process.

"He's going to fill the seats, because I will be one of the 10,000 in a seat," a Tiger fan said.

Fans say on name recognition alone, people know Penny.

They trust him to fill the forum and get the city fired up about Tiger ball again through getting wins.

"It's good for Memphis. It's good for business, and it's good for youngsters. It makes more people want to come play for the University of Memphis," he said.

Hardaway didn't comment on the job Wednesday night.

Right now, he says he's focused on his coaching position with East High School.