Texas Tech hires Tubby Smith
Tubby Smith has agreed to terms to become the next coach at Texas Tech, the school announced late Monday night.
Associate athletic director Blayne Beal tweeted that a 2 p.m. press conference was scheduled Tuesday to meet the latest man who is coming from a bigger program to try to revive the basketball program in West Texas.
Texas Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt met with the team Monday to tell players of Smith's hire, a source with direct knowledge of the meeting told ESPN.com's Andy Katz.
The Associated Press had earlier reported that the school had agreed to terms Monday with Smith on a contract.
Smith will take over for interim coach Chris Walker, who went 11-20 this season and just 3-15 in Big 12 play. The program is still reeling from Billy Gillispie's volatile one-year tenure, which ended when he resigned in September.
Like Knight and Day
Texas Tech is hoping Tubby Smith can do something that hasn't been done since Bob Knight retired: make the NCAA tournament. Knight won 20 games in four of his six full seasons. The Red Raiders have none since.The much-maligned Smith had five 20-win seasons in six years.
|Bob Knight at TT||138-92||4|
|6 yrs since at TT||69-104||0|
|Tubby Smith at MN||124-81||3|
|6 yrs previous at MN||95-93||0|
Smith was fired by Minnesota last week after six seasons. He led them to three NCAA tournaments and this season delivered the program's first tourney win -- the 11th-seeded Golden Gophers beat sixth-seeded UCLA -- since 1997. He went 124-81 (.610), winning 20 games five times. But he never finished higher than sixth in the Big Ten, going just 46-62 in conference play, prompting Minnesota athletic director Norwood Teague to oust him.
Minnesota reached out to Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin about the vacant opening, but Cronin declined, citing his commitment to Cincinnati, a source with direct knowledge told Katz.
Smith will become the fourth person to lead Texas Tech in as many seasons.
Texas Tech fans had pinned their basketball hopes on Gillispie after he'd turned around two other flagging programs in the state -- UTEP and Texas A&M -- and they hoped he would do the same for the Red Raiders. But he more resembled the guy who was fired at Kentucky, a hard-driving coach who had a difficult time connecting with the players he inherited.
Several complained to the administration about how Gillispie treated them, there were some secondary NCAA violations for exceeding practice times and it all led to the Red Raiders finishing 8-23 and winning just one Big 12 game in 2011-12 -- the program's worst season since 1990-91.
Gillispie stepped down in September, citing health reasons. Walker, an assistant at several schools for 17 years, led Texas Tech to an improved season, but the Houston native's lack of experience as a head coach likely worked against him.
Smith won a national title and five Southeastern Conference championships with Kentucky before the demanding Wildcats faithful pushed him to leave for Minnesota in 2007. Smith, who was replaced at Kentucky by Gillispie, also has taken Tulsa and Georgia to the round of 16, establishing a reputation as a program builder who could succeed in places that historically haven't been on the college basketball map.
Now he'll try to do it one more time, at Texas Tech.
Information from ESPN.com writers Jason King and Andy Katz and The Associated Press was used in this report.