Tubby Smith wanted to make sure one thing was understood.
His leaving Lubbock for Memphis didn’t have anything to do with anything anybody did or what didn’t happen at Texas Tech.
“Kirby (Hocutt) has been great to me,” Smith said over the phone on Thursday. “It’s a heck of a package there. I just think it’s the best thing for me and my family at this time.”
Memphis introduced Smith as its new basketball coach Thursday, ending Smith’s three-year tenure at Tech.
Memphis officials first approached Smith on Tuesday afternoon.
When “Tubby Smith” started trending on Twitter Wednesday afternoon, Red Raider C.J. Williamson sent out a message of his own.
The freshman guard, who closed out his high school career as the second leading scorer behind Darryl Dawkins, only averaged 1.7 points in 6.6 minutes per contest.
That limited playing time, paired with the rumors and statements circling through the social media world about the man who recruited him, often makes young players pack up their bags and take their talents elsewhere.
Instead of flight, Williamson chose fight.
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.