VAUGHT: Tubby addresses Virginia rumors

He probably did entertain inquiries from several NBA teams in recent years, but he's made it clear now that he prefers to remain at Kentucky for the rest of his career. Still, he's heard the rumors that Virginia is going to pursue him even though the Cavaliers still have a coach, Pete Gillen, with several years remaining on his contract.

No matter what he does or says, Kentucky coach Tubby Smith knows his name is always going to be linked with some job opening.

He probably did entertain inquiries from several NBA teams in recent years, but he's made it clear now that he prefers to remain at Kentucky for the rest of his career. Still, he's heard the rumors that Virginia is going to pursue him even though the Cavaliers still have a coach, Pete Gillen, with several years remaining on his contract.

Virginia (13-13) won its first six games, including a 78-60 decision over Arizona. Since then the Cavs have been mediocre at best and already the media and fan speculation about the next coach has started.

Smith said Friday that all successful coaches have their names linked to other jobs. However, he wishes it wasn't happening right before the NCAA Tournament and going into the April signing date even though the Cats are involved with only a few players.

Smith hates the rampant speculation even more because Gillen still has the job. That's why he's not going to make any kind of comment nixing the rumors because that would be acknowledging that he thought the job was going to come open.

He asked Tennessee coach Buzz Peterson about his job status when the Vols were here earlier this week because he's heard the talk that Peterson might be let go when the season ends. Peterson apparently was not optimistic when he talked to Smith.

"Buzz is a class guy, too. I really like him," Smith said.

But he knows fans everywhere, not just those at Kentucky, expect results. Friday he had to help entertain numerous donors. He let them watch practice and then had a meet-and-greet with them all after practice.

While he said those functions can be tiring, he admitted there was one positive.

"Our players know somebody is watching all the time. That helps keep them sharp," Smith said.

However, no matter how much those in Virginia might watch Smith the next few weeks, don't let the talk bother you. Smith is happy here and he'll just let the rumors spin while he looks for ways to keep making Kentucky better.

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