Kirby Hocutt wasn’t just the Texas Tech athletics director Thursday morning.
Instead, for a brief moment, he became like the head coach of a team before the biggest game of the season as he emphatically delivered a speech to a stunned group of Red Raider athletes looking for answers in regard to their future.
Tubby Smith had just accepted the head coaching position at Memphis.
Smith’s contract with the Tigers is reportedly worth $15.45 million over five years, including $2.8 million in 2016-17, $2.9 million in 2017-18, and $3.25 million in the final three years.
By 2 p.m. Wednesday, many Texas Tech fans were in a state of panic.
Reporters from national news outlets said that Memphis had targeted the Red Raiders’ Tubby Smith for its men’s basketball head coaching vacancy.
CBS Sports’ Gary Parrish, citing an unnamed source, said that Smith and Memphis would most likely come to an agreement in the next 24 hours. ESPN’s Andy Katz, also citing unnamed sources, said Smith was expected to accept the job if he and Memphis can reach a deal.
The 2016 Big 12 Coach of the Year might be on the move.
Memphis is currently interested in Texas Tech coach Tubby Smith to succeed Josh Pastner, who moved on to fill the vacancy at Georgia Tech a week ago.
According to a report made by USA TODAY Sports, Smith has informed Texas Tech officials that he is involved in the Memphis process. It is believed he would take an offer if it is made.
Memphis is expected to make a decision by the end of the week.
Toddrick Gotcher’s jaw dropped the first time he saw Tubby Smith.
Texas Tech and Minnesota were in Orlando, Florida, for the Old Spice Classic in November of 2011.
The two teams didn’t face each other on the court, but Gotcher remembers seeing him there and thinking to himself, “Wow, that’s Tubby Smith.”
“I knew he was a big time guy that everybody knows,” Gotcher said. “I never introduced myself to him (then). I didn’t think I was valuable enough to.”
A year-and-a-half later, Gotcher was still in awe as he was introduced to his new coach at Texas Tech.
Fifty years ago, Tubby Smith was a freshman in high school.
Integration and consolidation were taking place in schools in southern Maryland, and that spring Smith went from George Washington Carver to Great Mills High School.
In March 1966, less than two hours from his hometown of Scotland, something happened that shaped the Texas Tech coach’s life.
The site was Cole Field House on the campus of the University of Maryland, where the Maryland high school basketball state championships were played at the time.
Texas Tech men’s basketball coach Tubby Smith picked up the NABC District 8 Coach of the Year award announced Thursday by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC).
For Smith, it marks his third coach of the year honor this season.
He was named Sporting News National Coach of the Year and Big 12 Coach of the Year earlier this month.
Smith is now eligible for NABC National Coach of the Year which will be announced next week during NCAA Final Four weekend.
By Monday evening, Oklahoma State and TCU had both filled their men's basketball head coaching vacancies by hiring Stephen F. Austin's Brad Underwood and Pitt's Jamie Dixon respectively. Not only were those hires great for the respective schools but they were also great for the league overall. They added to a conference with six coaches who have been to the Final Four. Furthermore, the only two coaches ever to take five different programs to the NCAA Tournament are in the Big 12.
RALEIGH, N.C. — Toward the end of September, Toddrick Gotcher sat in a chair the lobby of the United Supermarkets Arena as he discussed what he saw from his teammates during their Canadian Foreign Tour back in August.
The Red Raiders went 4-0 against their opponents up north. Freshmen Jordan Jackson and C.J. Williamson fared well for their first times in Texas Tech uniforms. The group of sophomores seemed more confident in the system. Junior Aaron Ross looked like a different person as he was finally fully healthy.
RALEIGH, N.C. — As Texas Tech walked off the court at PNC Arena after a 10-point loss to Butler, the Red Raiders were disappointed.
That they couldn’t hang on to overtake Butler and advance to the second round.
That the easy shots and free throws weren’t falling while the Bulldogs were making it rain from the perimeter.
That this was the final game of the season and this team wouldn’t be together anymore.
But there was something in their eyes, a fire if you will, that ignited once the final buzzer rang.
One of determination.