I am coming to terms with the idea that Tubby Smith may be the next basketball coach at the University of Memphis. Honestly, this was not what I had originally hoped for. My number one choice was Bruce Pearl. But his buyout at Auburn was in the neighborhood of $4-5M, and I guess the school couldn’t stomach that kind of payout. I was then hoping we could lure Gregg Marshall away from Wichita State. Apparently, that isn’t going to happen, either.
This morning, Tubby Smith showed up as the most likely candidate for the Memphis job. I admit I was not happy at first. I thought we could have done better. But then I gradually came to my senses and asked myself the question, “A week ago, would I have been willing to trade John Pastner for Tubby Smith?” The answer, emphatically, was “YES!”
I don’t know if Tubby can recruit as well as Pastner recruits. Hopefully he’ll hire a master recruiter for his staff. Beyond that, Tubby Smith is everything we said we wanted. He’s older (64) and has plenty of head coaching experience. (Pastner had none when we hired him.) His overall record in Division I is 557-276 across 25 seasons. The past 21 seasons he has coached power 5 teams exclusively. He has won a national championship. (I don’t know that Memphis has ever had a basketball coach with a national championship under his belt.)
This past season he was voted Big 12 Coach of the Year & Sporting News National Coach of the Year after going 19-13 at Texas Tech and getting an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament.
So maybe Tubby Smith IS the coach we said we wanted. His name never came to mind when reviewing potential replacements but his credentials are solid. Let’s wrap this up and fully invest ourselves in the new hire. I can’t wait to buy season tickets and start going to games again.