Look at Tubby Smith’s career arc: Tulsa, Georgia, Kentucky (national title), Minnesota and, if the reports are true, Texas Tech might be next.
Smith, just fired as Minnesota’s basketball coach after five seasons, is the frontrunner for the job at Texas Tech, according to multiple reports. Whoever the Red Raiders hire will be their fourth coach since 2010. After the 2010-11 season they fired Pat Knight and hired Billy Gillispie. But Gillispie coached just one season in Lubbock, succumbing to a bizarre set of circumstances that involved accusations of player abuse and a hospital stay for Gillispie. He resigned in September. Chris Walker coached the team on an interim basis this season, going 11-20.
Texas Tech hasn’t had a coach with a winning percentage above .500 since Bob Knight, who went 202-138 from 2001-08. Under his son, Pat, the Red Raiders tended to compile sparkling non-conference records that fell apart in Big 12 play. Texas Tech hasn’t played in the NCAA Tournament since 2007.
According to ESPN, Texas Tech is considering Smith, Walker and former Nebraska coach Doc Sadler, who is currently on Bill Self’s staff at Kansas. Smith has the best resume in that group. He is 511-226 as a head coach, going back to 1991. He won the national championship at Kentucky in 1998 and was the Naismith coach of the year in 2003. Smith has made the NCAA Tournament at every coaching stop, and had the Golden Gophers in the Top 25 at times this season. But Minnesota lost to Florida in the second round and Smith was fired.