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.
RALEIGH, N.C. — It was a tie game inside PNC Arena in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
It had been a back-and-forth affair throughout the second period between No. 8 Texas Tech and No. 9 Butler as the differential between the two teams was never more than a possession.
However, with just over eight minutes to go, after Texas Tech missed a jumper and a tip in, Bulldog forward Kelan Martin sank a 3-pointer in transition to reclaim their lead over the Red Raiders.
Four months ago, Butler was placed in one half of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off bracket, while Texas Tech was placed in the other.
After beating Missouri State in the opening round, the Bulldogs went on to defeat Temple before the lost by 10 to Miami in the championship game. The Red Raiders, however, lost their opening round by 10 to Utah before they defeated Mississippi State and Minnesota.
RALEIGH — From watching Tubby Smith lead Kentucky to a national title in 1998, Butler coach Chris Holtmann has a great respect for the man that will be standing on the other side of the court from him Thursday morning.
So does his mother.
“You know, Tubby Smith is my mom’s second favorite basketball coach,” said Holtmann, a native of Nicholasville, Kentucky. “He’s her favorite Kentucky basketball coach. ... Anybody that has been around Coach Smith has great respect and admiration for who he is.”