Tubby Smith to be Named Gopher BB Head Coach

Tubby Smith will be named Minnesota head basketball coach at a noon press conference Friday. Smith led Kentucky to a 22-12 mark, advancing to the NCAA Tournament before losing to #1 seed Kansas in the second round. However, the Wildcats lost seven of their last eleven games. Smith led Kentucky to the NCAA title in 1998 and was 263-83 in 10 years with Kentucky.

Since arriving in Lexington in 1997, Tubby Smith has led Kentucky to one national championship, five SEC crowns and five SEC Tournament titles, with six Sweet 16 finishes in his eight seasons.

Smith revived two mediocre programs, Tulsa and Georgia, into NCAA title hopefuls. Prior to coming to the Bluegrass, he spent two seasons at Georgia, where he coached the Bulldogs to a 45-19 (70.3%) record and the first back-to-back seasons of 20 wins or more in school history. Prior to Georgia, he coached four seasons at Tulsa, guiding the Golden Hurricane to Final 16 appearances his last two seasons.

Much of his success as a collegiate head coach has been measured by his teams' performances in the NCAA Tournament. Smith's 1994 Tulsa team upset UCLA in the tourney's first round before knocking off Oklahoma State. In '95, the Hurricane blew away Big-Ten power Illinois to open March Madness. His postseason success continued at Georgia, where the Bulldogs defeated Clemson to open the '96 tournament before upsetting the top-seeded Boilermakers.

Considered by many as one of the nation's top coaches, Smith was selected to help coach the 2000 U.S. Olympic Basketball Team in Sydney. He served as an assistant to Houston Rockets coach Rudy Tomjanovich as the Americans withstood high expectations to capture the gold medal. Currently, he serves on the NCAA committee to study basketball issues, joining Duke's Mike Krzyzewski and Oregon's Ernie Kent.

While he continues to make strides nationally in the sport of basketball, Smith's first impact on the Bluegrass came nine years before his national championship. When Pitino took over the Wildcats' program in '89, he sought an assistant coach who knew the South, and one name continued to surface -- Tubby Smith. Smith left his assistant coaching position at South Carolina and joined Pitino's first staff, which had the dubious honor of rebuilding a UK program that had been rocked by NCAA probation and player defections.

Smith had been under recent criticism by Kentucky fans as the team has lost 25 games the last two seasons, the most losses in a two-year period not affected by probation. (The Cats lost 33 from 1988-90.)

Smith and his coaching staff had been criticized for their inconsistent recruiting efforts. His three seniors combined for just 12.9 points per game and his lone sophomore, Jared Carter, averaged only 0.3 points.

Kentucky lost all six of its matchups against ranked opponents and finished 9-7 in the SEC.

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