I can't find the original Associated Press report, but this is from the StarTribune in Minnesota and another article from the LAJ, regarding the report of former Minnesota head coach Tubby Smith is in negotiations with Texas Tech to become the next men's head basketball coach:
The fired Gophers coach is in talks with Texas Tech to become the next coach of the Red Raiders, two people with knowledge of the conversation told the Associated Press on Saturday night. The people requested anonymity because the talks are ongoing.
Smith, who also could draw some interest from New Mexico after Steve Alford abruptly left for UCLA on Saturday, was fired Monday after six seasons with the Gophers. This season, he helped the Gophers capture their first tourney victory since 1997 when they beat sixth-seeded UCLA in the second round.
I was also sitting here on the front page of the Gophers section of the StarTribune and I think this guy is legendary, Sid Hartman, was on a short video about the Minnesota coaching job. I don't know when it was done, but at the time, Hartman seemed to indicate that Flip Saunders was a fall-back and that's apparently fallen through. Minnesota is in a position similar to Texas Tech in that they don't have all of the facilities that their Big Ten brethren. In any event, Hartman spoke with Tubby Smith about his next step and I thought it was interesting in that Smith is fine with maybe waiting out a year for the right job to open up:
"I’m going to coach again. I’m going to take some time and think about what I want to do. That’s all I’m going to do," said Smith, who turned down two job offers last season to stay at Minnesota because he and his wife, Donna, loved it here.
"I’ll go to the NCAA [tournament, but] it won’t be to talk to people [about a coaching job]. I’m on a lot of committees and a lot of things involved with college basketball. So I’ll take care of my responsibilities. So yeah, I’ll be at the Final Four."
And then there was this last bit from Hartman as he editorializes about the decisions that the Minnesota AD made regarding the firing of Smith:
I hung around that basketball team more than some of the guys who made the decision to fire him, and until the facilities are greatly improved, a coach as talented as the late John Wooden, who won 10 national titles at UCLA, won’t be able to win here.
I think Hartman has a soft spot for Smith, but I think the point remains in that Smith is a pretty good basketball coach. Hartman indicated that Smith never would have taken the Minnesota job if he had known how tough it was going to be. If Smith needs to give me a call and talk to me about how tough I think it could be re-building this program, feel free to shoot me an email. And the commentors of the article are tough on Smith about his conference record, which wasn't all that great. That was Smith's biggest detriment at Minnesota, not being able to win in conference.
Smith might be a "retread". I'm not sure. Again, Hartman makes it clear in the video that Smith is willing to wait and that the Minnesota is a very tough job with somewhat unrealistic expectations from the fanbase and the AD. I would guess that Hartman is biased, but he's also really old and old people don't care who they tick off and it makes me believe them more. I still think that Smith is qualified and I understand the thought process of a proven coach (also known as "retread") versus a coach like Walker that is pure potential and hinges on certain players signing with Texas Tech. That's a big gamble for an athletic department and administration. I don't like the process in which this coaching search has happened, but these are really two different things and I feel like I need to keep the two things separated.