I don't know if it was first reported by ESPN or by CBS Sports, so I'll link both, but it was reported last night that Texas Tech officials were meeting with Tubby Smith and his wife in Lubbock and is considered the front-runner for the head basketball coaching position. In the ESPN article, it mentions that Texas Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt and Chancellor Kent Hance flew to North Carolina on Wednesday to meet with Smith and Smith flew to Lubbock on Thursday:
Athletic director Kirby Hocutt and chancellor Kent Hance flew to North Carolina on Wednesday evening to talk with Smith about the position, and Smith was spotted in Lubbock on Thursday evening at Texas Tech's athletic facility. It is unclear whether Smith has been offered the job or whether he would accept the position if an offer was extended.
I'm not sure what to make about Smith as a coach. It's been a long time since I watched him coach, but I always enjoyed watching his teams play. The knocks against Smith is that he's older and washed up and a re-tread and is name is Tubby. Those really aren't reasons, to me, as older coaches can coach, that someone else's trash can be another program's treasure and I don't care what his name is. What I do consider reasons is the following, from SB Nation brethren the Daily Gopher:
Norwood Teague is a fool. At least that would be your impression if you listen to national media types like Jay Bilas and Michael Wilbon.
They'll tell you Tubby Smith is a nice guy and a world-class human being. You'll probably hear them suggest that Minnesota basketball must embrace its position as a run-of-the-mill B1G program, an also-ran that should accept middling basketball. For crying out loud, Tubby Smith once won a national championship. These are the things Wilbon, Bilas and others think a multi-million dollar decision should be based on. They're completely wrong.
In addition to Tubby's in-game tactics, Tubby Smith didn't seem to have a vision for the program. How did he want his team to play basketball and win game?. We heard a lot about the Gophers doing better out of conference because they could get away from the slow-it-down B1G pace. But if Tubby wanted a run and gun team with athletes, why did he recruit Ralph Sampson III? Maurice Walker? Maverick Ahanmisi? Colton Iverson? Andre Ingram? Oto Oseneiks? Round pegs, square holes. Or maybe just random pegs.
Tubby Smith wasn't fired Monday because he was a bad guy, immoral or a cheater. He was fired because his program wasn't fun, had no direction and his coaching was, at best, suspect.
Now, we're cooking. These are reasons, and granted, they are reasons from the fanbase that just let him go, but I can appreciate their reasons. Maybe the easiest way to put it, is that Smith never just won enough.
There are problems with each and every candidate, that's the problem. Minnesota fans seemed to tire of not being able to break through that next step, while Texas Tech fans are looking up at the step trying to figure out how to get there. At this point, if Texas Tech is going to win 20 games a year for a long period of time, I'd be ecstatic and it wouldn't bother me who is the head coach.
The other thought rattling through my head is that some of us want us to aim higher, but what does that mean? The problem is that there are really only two types of coaches that the Texas Tech basketball program has a shot to hire: 1) the young coach who won at a lesser program; or 2) the older coach who has won, but probably not won enough. I don't know what the "right" or "best" way is for this program, but I think this is the unfortunate reality of the situation for a program that has been in the basement of the Big 12 since 2009. That's a long time. I know we think more of our program, but right now, it's not a good situation and at this point, someone needs to put this program back on the tracks.