FanDuel - WFBC

March 22, 2007

Tubby Fills A Gopher Hole...: ...Tubby Smith leaves Kentucky for Minnesota.

posted by TheQatarian to basketball at 04:33 PM - 28 comments

It sounds like Kentucky fans wanted him gone, and given their unrealistic expectations (worse than Notre Dame football fans, if you ask me...Kentucky basketball deals with a lot tougher competition than Notre Dame football does), a move to Minnesota should be great for his stress level. Here in Gopher-ville, we'll be thrilled if we can get back to the Big Dance. And it's a good big-name hire after taking a chance on a no-name football coach. Good move for the Gophers and for Smith, but what of Kentucky?

posted by TheQatarian at 04:38 PM on March 22

This is great news for the Gophers. For football, we needed a high energy guy that could help us recruit, both in-state and out. For basketball, we needed a name, someone that demands respect and hard work and won't settle for not making the NCAAs. Go Gophers!

posted by emoeby at 05:01 PM on March 22

Kentucky is to basketball what Alabama is to football.

posted by iamthelummox at 05:02 PM on March 22

Kentucky is to basketball what Alabama is to football. Really? I didn't think Kentucky was that bad at basketball.

posted by tommytrump at 05:05 PM on March 22

If I'm not mistaken, this was correctly predicted last week on PTI that Smith would be on the move this year (althought, they didn't say to Minnesota specifically) on his own terms if he knew what was best. Guess they were right.

posted by Spitztengle at 05:14 PM on March 22

Boy did this hiring come out of left field for anyone else? With all of the names circulating this job, never once did I see Tubby even in passing. For Tubby, this is a perfect situation: even if you can't win, your big name should recruit enough talent to get the program into the NCAA Tournament, which will keep the fan base happy for another few years, and when disappointment begins to set in, it simply means you have another few years left on the job. For the Gophers, it's a solid hire that will finaly give the athletics department a breather from the heat they've [deservedly] been taking of late. Hell, it might just save Maturi's job (Athletics Director, Minnesota). For Kentucky: It will certainly make their fan base happy, but what candidates are there to replace Tubby? Down the road, however, Tubby hasn't proven the ability to recruit exceptionally well. Minnesota's previous coach, Dan Monson, was not a terrible coach, he simply lacked any talent to really work with because of his recruiting (and that violations ordeal from the previous regime). I am mildly troubled the same will be said of Tubby in six years. His name alone will get him a little talent, but if he can't turn the program around in a few years, will the name be enough? Regardless, a very solid hire for a program (and school) that undoubtedly needed it.

posted by PublicUrinal at 06:02 PM on March 22

Wildcat fans EVERYWHERE are rejoicing!Tubby is a terrible coach.Will be outcoached by Popeye in any close game!Minnesota,good luck up there!You will need it!& i like Minnesota & the people there.

posted by squirrelone at 09:52 PM on March 22

I'll gladly take Smith up here (I live in MN now). I attended to UGA where Smith happened to be coaching before going to UK. It also just so happens happens that his successor was Jim Harrick. After supporting that team for 2 or 3 years only for it to implode with their best team in years due to their cheating, I'll be happy to have a coach up here who demands respect and doesn't have any cheating issues. And, has already been said, there aren't exactly high expectation up here for MN basketball. In the Big 10, I'm fairly confidant he can at least make it to the NCAAs. Lest we forget, Smith has made it to the tourney every year and won the national championship.

posted by jmd82 at 10:21 PM on March 22

I can see the argument of Tubby being a bad recruiter, but coach? Despite not having a top-25 recruit for some time (or even a top-125 recruit in his last class), Tubby still coached his teams to a 263-83 record during his years in Kentucky, landing 20+ victories for every team he's coached in the past 14 years. What that tells me is that he knows how to take advantage of what "little" he's got, even in a tough SEC. For Minnesota that's excellent since nobody is expecting great recruits to go to the tundra. Instead, he'll take a damaged roster and make them middle-of-the-pack while the rest of Gopher Nation prays all of those players burglarize a dorm room to free up scholarships. Hopefully it will be up from there.

posted by PublicUrinal at 10:22 PM on March 22

Nice to feel appreciated, squirrelone. Anyway, he can't possibly do worse than his predecessor. Dan Monson was in so far over his head with this job that you needed sonar equipment to locate him. He was brought in initially to clean up the mess that Clem Haskins made, and he did do that much, but his good players didn't respect him. Rick Rickert, Joel Przybilla and Kris Humphries all bailed early on him, and all of the good in-state talent has gone to either Wisconsin or Michigan State. Minnesota has the resources and facilities (one of the best arenas in the country), and its fanbase will show up if things don't look totally hopeless. This is especially good timing for the Gophers given the state of the local professional (and I use that term loosely) basketball team.

posted by TheQatarian at 10:31 PM on March 22

Boy did this hiring come out of left field for anyone else? I think it's a great move for Smith. He was ready to bolt before they could yank the rug out from under him. It seems Kentucky's basketball program's expectations are mainly based on their storied past, and they need to get to work to avoid becoming a program that takes a major fall. The rest of the conference has caught up to them or is in the process of passing them.

posted by dyams at 07:44 AM on March 23

Wildcat fans EVERYWHERE are rejoicing!Tubby is a terrible coach. Hell yeah he is! After all, it's not like he's brought a national championship (only the second one in the last thirty years) back to Lexington or anything, right ? Right? U.K. fans deserve whatever they get, as long as it's bad.

posted by The_Black_Hand at 07:46 AM on March 23

Kentucky is to basketball what Alabama is to football. Really? I didn't think Kentucky was that bad at basketball. That triggered my internal rim shot. Nice one!

posted by danjel at 08:02 AM on March 23

I loved the comment "Kentucky is to basketball what Alabama is to football". You are so correct. Both are former powerhouses who have fallen to mediocrity.

posted by BlindAlvin at 08:38 AM on March 23

I'd totally swallowed the "Flip Saunders is coming back" hype, and was excited about it. Felt a little let down when this news came out; but, stepping back, it actually seems surprising that the Gophers could lure a coach with any sort of pedigree who didn't have local ties. I dunno. If nothing else, it's hard not to get behind a guy named Tubby.

posted by cobra! at 08:55 AM on March 23

I don't really want to get behind a guy named Tubby at the buffet .

posted by tommytrump at 09:09 AM on March 23

I just want to be on record as one UK fan who is not rejoicing. I love Tubby Smith and everything he stands for. He is a class act all the way. The amount of pressure he was under from day one is more than most people could endure. Tubby withstood that pressure for 10 years. He wins 20 games every year and always gives you a chance to win with his defensive intensity. He is a great coach and it's just unfortunate that he never got UK back to the final four. That's why he is gone. 9 years without a final four appearance is not acceptable around here. How ridiculous is that? The man took UK to the championship his first year, and while many are quick to point out that he did so with Pitino's players, they are also quick to forget to mention these were the same players Ricky P lost with the year before. And anyone who questions the mans ability to coach need only to look at tapes from that NCAA tournament. The comeback wins against Duke and Kansas that year were classic Tubby Smith. This news really hit me hard yesterday as I was not expecting him to leave. The only way I know to describe my feelings is to compare this with the time Jerry Jones purchased my beloved Cowboys and promptly fired Coach Landry. It took me quite a few months to decide if I could continue being a fan. Well, as much as that hurt then, I can understand it a little more now that I am older and as they say time heals all wounds. Of course it helps to win three Super Bowls. I guess what I am saying is in time I will learn to accept this for what is was and I will continue to root for the Cats cause that's what I know. But I will miss Tubby Smith and the great character he exhibited during his time in Lexington. I do think Minn is getting a great coach and his style will fit in well with Big Ten play. Now one last chant for old times sake.......Tubby, Tubby, Tubby, Tubby, Tubby........

posted by ampto11 at 09:19 AM on March 23

U.K. fans deserve whatever they get, as long as it's bad. Totally agree. Tubby was a class act throughout. Best of luck to him.

posted by pholcomb at 09:23 AM on March 23

I'm sure Kentucky fans are elated I'm a big ten midwest fan of Basketball that's why I do so bad at the NCAA tournament bracket every year I just don't pay much attention to other areas despite Depaul being in the Big East but I don't think Tubby knows what he's getting into with the Golden Gophers I wish him the best of luck but He's not the Messiah

posted by luther70 at 10:30 AM on March 23

Say what?

posted by jmd82 at 10:52 AM on March 23

I loved the comment "Kentucky is to basketball what Alabama is to football". You are so correct. Both are former powerhouses who have fallen to mediocrity. posted by BlindAlvin Many schools could fit that description. That's not why they're similar.

posted by justgary at 11:20 AM on March 23

As my name implies,I am a Tubby fan,but as a long time UK fan{since 1968},the program here in Lex-town is slipping badly. 25 Losses in 2 years is intolerable here.It is now time for a change. Local fans here are hoping for Donavan{Fla},Calipari{Memphis},or Pitino{the irony,Louisville}.Any other name {Gillespie,Creen,Few} will be met with a resounding BOO. However,Minnisota is getting a GREAT coach,class act,and the finest example of a human being that I have ever had the pleasure of dining with.His concerns are with the "Student Athlete",his grad-rate is high,and the quality of his recruits is stellar.Unfortunately players with great character do not always translate to victories and national championships.{I give you Joakim Noah,with his chest-pounding,egotism that would not play with Tubby.} These three things I know are true 1-Minnasota will become a very good team 2 the Big Ten will fear Minnasota soon 3The powers that be ,the first chance they get,will set Kentucky and Minnasota on a collision course in the NCAA tournament

posted by Tubby Fan at 11:39 AM on March 23

U.K. fans deserve whatever they get, as long as it's bad. Enjoy those Florida teams for a couple of more years because it wont belong till Ky dominates the sec again. We just may do it with your coach!

posted by louisville_slugger at 12:14 PM on March 23

There seems to be a lot of talk about Donovan, but I can't see him leaving Florida. He's made Gainesville home for eleven years and has established a solid fan base. He seems to have solid ties with the athletics department and is in a very comfortable situation with great incoming classes. Furthermore, a school like Florida would likely not be afraid to open up the checkbook to make sure he sticks around. Lastly, it does not strike me as his character to dump Florida for a rival. Given the security he has at UF and the fact that the program has become a success because of him (it was so only briefly under Lon Kruger), it just doesn't make sense.

posted by PublicUrinal at 02:29 PM on March 23

Kentucky is a class act who parted with a classy coach. 10 years is a long time especially at uk. The cats will be dominant real soon so all you haters out there get ready. We will get a great coach whose ego needs the greatest college b-ball program as much as we need him.

posted by tommyclemonsjr at 02:36 PM on March 23

We will get a great coach whose ego needs the greatest college b-ball program as much as we need him. Greatest college b-ball program seems a bit subjective to those of us from other traditional basketball powerhouses. Homerism does not look good on you.

posted by hawkguy at 03:39 PM on March 23

As a Memphis fan, this is terrible news.

posted by Adept at 09:24 AM on March 24

"There seems to be a lot of talk about Donovan, but I can't see him leaving Florida. He's made Gainesville home for eleven years and has established a solid fan base. He seems to have solid ties with the athletics department and is in a very comfortable situation with great incoming classes. Furthermore, a school like Florida would likely not be afraid to open up the checkbook to make sure he sticks around. Lastly, it does not strike me as his character to dump Florida for a rival. Given the security he has at UF and the fact that the program has become a success because of him (it was so only briefly under Lon Kruger), it just doesn't make sense. posted by PublicUrinal at 2:29 PM CST on March 23 " Despite your handle (PublicUrinal, yeecht!!!), you are wise, Ole great one. Donovan would be an absolute fool to leave Florida for the UK. It took him a while to build a program at Florida. He is a big name now, so building one at the UK will take less time, but it will take two to three years minimum. If he fails to win an NCAA title after the short interim, his star will fall as Tubby's fell and questions about his recruiting ethics will rise to the forefront and probaly result in him being fired - there is precedence of big name coaches being let go when programs went flat, Bobby Knight at Indy and Norm Sloan at Florida. Donovan is admired in Gainesville and will get a lot of slack during down years. That is a situation that coaches will kill for. I also do not see Florida, with all the money at it's disposal, allowing Donavan or the football coach, Mayer walk away without throwing trainloads of money at them. Both are simply too good of assets to their respective Florida programs to be allowed to walk away. Both have excellent recruiting classes coming in next year.

posted by Cave_Man at 01:18 PM on March 24

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