Sports Outside the Beltway

Tubby Smith leaves Kentucky for Minnesota

Smith coached the Wildcats to a National Championship in 1998. From AP-

MINNEAPOLIS – With Kentucky fans dogging him after another disappointing finish, Tubby Smith is bolting the bluegrass for Minnesota. Smith will be introduced as the 16th coach of the Golden Gophers at a noon press conference Friday, ending a 10-year tenure in Lexington that seemed to be nearing an end even before Minnesota contacted him.

The Wildcats went 22-12 this season and made it to the NCAA tournament, but lost to top-seeded Kansas in the second round, turning up the heat on the coach of college basketball’s winningest program.

Smith led Kentucky to the national championship in his first season in 1998, but the Wildcats haven’t been back to the Final Four since, their longest drought since the NCAA tournament began. The team has lost 10 or more games in a season five times under his watch, prompting the demanding fan base to nickname him “10-loss Tubby.”

Anyone see Smith’s move as similar to Football coach Bill Curry leaving Alabama for Kentucky?

Kentucky Basketball like Alabama Football puts any coach in a high pressure situation. Smith is probably burned out and in need of a change of scenery. Gopher fans will certainly have lesser expectations than Wildcats fans have.

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What people tend to not know, or like to conveniently ignore is that bill curry had been given an annuity, there were contract extension talks and he still owns the lake house that was given him, when he ran off like a thief in the night. curry is a pathological liar, as is ivan maisel. curry was a very bad football coach, but is excellent at what he has made his career – blaming his mediocrity on anyone and everyone else.

Posted by steve | March 23, 2007 | 06:42 am | Permalink

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