Tubby Out at Minnesota

In the second head-scratching firing in as many days, Minnesota fired head basketball coach Tubby Smith on Monday. Smith had compiled a 124-81 record in six seasons at Minnesota and had taken the Golden Gophers past 6th seeded UCLA before falling to Florida in the Round of 32.

Smith had previously coached at Kentucky where he won the 1998 National Championship before a series of mediocre seasons led to his departure to Minnesota.

Minnesota’s program was reeling following an academic cheating scandal. Smith brought the program back to respectability including three NCAA Tournament appearances, but the program never became more than solid.

Norwood Teague, the relatively new Athletic Director at Minnesota, said he felt the program needed a “fresh set of eyes.” He could be targeting Shaka Smart, the head coach at VCU where Teague worked prior to coming to Minnesota. Smart could also be a target of more high profile programs like USC and UCLA.

Other big names, including former Timberwolves coach Flip Saunders have been mentioned.

In the same vein as UCLA’s dismissal of Ben Howland, many have been critical of this decision. Critics have said that Minnesota lacks the stature of other Big 10 programs and that Smith had been relatively successful with the program.


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