University of Minnesota Director of Athletics Norwood Teague announced minutes ago that Gophers basketball coach Tubby Smith has been dismissed. A formal press conference will be held in about an hour. The Golden Gophers upset UCLA in an #11 seed over #6 game in the NCAA Tournament Friday night in Austin, TX. However, after winning in convincing fashion, Tubby Smith lost in convincing fashion to the #3 seed Florida Gators.
“Tubby has had a long and distinguished career and we feel it’s time for a fresh set of eyes for our student-athletes and our program in general,” Teague said in a prepared statement. “We are grateful to Tubby and his entire staff for their hard work and dedication to this University, our students and the entire Minnesota community. We wish Tubby, Donna and the entire staff well.”
Smith compiled a record of 124-81 (.610) in his six seasons in the Twin Cities and led the program to five postseason berths. The Gophers’ postseason accomplishments under Smith include a run to the finals of the 2012 NIT at Madison Square Garden and their tourney win this year. (Coincidentally, his coaching counterpart in that game, Ben Howland was also fired by UCLA)
Tubby won a national title with the Kentucky Wildcats, but they fired him too. I guess with what he accomplished at UK, expectations were much higher in Minneapolis than what he actually accomplished during his tenure. Golden Gophers basketball has 12 NCAA Tournament appearances and 13 total tourney wins in their school history. Their lone Final Four was 1997.
By the way, Tubby Smith is a smart and interesting man, I suggest you read this exclusive I did with him a couple years ago at Big Ten Media Days. The subject matter is all media: old, new, social etc. We wish Tubby the best.
Paul M. Banks is the owner of The Sports Bank.net, an author and regular contributor to MSN, Fox Sports , Chicago Now, Walter Football.com and Yardbarker.
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