According to this KSTP article, Tubby Smith will be the next head basketball coach for the U of M. I officially pronounce this as a dramatic step forward for the Gophers’ basketball program. Smith has a great track record, which includes a national championship while coaching the University of Kentucky Wildcats. Here’s what KSTP is reporting thus far:

Tubby Smith will be named the new head coach of the University of Minnesota basketball team, a source close to the Gopher basketball program tells 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS. The University of Minnesota has not yet commented on the naming.

Smith has been at the University of Kentucky for the last ten years and won a National Championship there. He is considered one of the elite coaches in college basketball.

Early reports are that Smith will be paid $1.8 million per year.

That’s a big salary for a coach but Smith will fill up the Barn in a hurry. He’ll be a great recruiter, too. In other words, the increased revenues brought in by a great program will more than offset his salary. In other words, Smith will put the Gold back in the Golden Gophers.

Earlier this year, Joel Maturi replaced longtime head football coach Glen Mason with Denver Broncos assistant coach Tim Brewster. At the time that he fired Mason, I said that Maturi had to go. Based on the moves he’s made, I fully retract that statement and I congratulate Mr. Maturi on his bringing in two coaches that will raise the profile of sports on the U of M campus.

As I’ve written before, former Gopher Trent Tucker has hinted that he’d like to have an active role in the next coaching staff. In my opinion, he’s perfect for the jobs of recruiting director & assistant coach. Double T knows the game inside & out. He’s worked with several Minnesota high school kids on their game. He’s a close friend of Michael Jordan’s from their time on Chicago’s last NBA Championship team.

Translation: That’s the resume of someone who’d have instant credibility with kids on the recruiting trail.

That will all work itself out in the days ahead, though. The good news for Gopher hoops fans is that our long traverse through the desert is over, thanks to Mr. Maturi’s hiring of Tubby Smith.

UPDATE: I just watched Sportscenter and I’m more excited now than I was earlier tonight. Dick Vitale said that “The winner in all of this is Minnesota. They hit a grand slam baby. They got a Harmon Killebrew special.” I’m normally not a big Vitale fan but I totally agree with him.

Former Notre Dame coach Digger Phelps said that this was a good move by Smith, that the Gophers will be getting a great coach.

Here’s a picture of Tubby Smith arriving at Williams Arena:

FSN North announced after tonight’s Wild game that they will carry the press conference live from Williams Arena at noon Friday. Expect every sports reporter in the Twin Cities to be there for the announcement. Getting a guy of the caliber of Tubby Smith is major news in Minnesota.

Technorati: , , , , , , ,

One Response to “U of M Coaching Transformation Continues”

Leave a Reply