Well folks, the rumors of Tubby Smith leaving Texas Tech for Memphis are true. The Tubby Smith era at Texas Tech is officially over. I was hoping that it would take a little longer for me to write these words, but in the competitive landscape that is college basketball, we've lost our head coach to another school. That's the way it goes. Although this coaching vacancy seems to be the biggest issue at hand, there are other things that need to be considered following the exit of Tubby.
The Coaching Vacancy
It seems unfair for a lot of people that Tubby left the program at what seems to be one of the high points for the program in recent years. The consensus of the fan-base seem to be angry with his decision, and to a degree, they deserve to be angry. This past season was fruitful for the Red Raiders, starting with an 11-1 record, beating Oklahoma, Iowa Staand ultimately punching a ticket to the NCAA tournament. All the momentum that was being carried into this next season is now up in the air with Tubby leaving. Fortunately, we have an athletic director who has made some impressive hires in the past couple of years.
Rumors are that Kirby Hocutt is already at work looking for a successor to Tubby. There are a couple of names being thrown around for who would be the top candidate to take the job. Darvin Ham and Chris Beard seem to be on everyone's radar. Darvin Ham is a Texas Tech alumnus, and also famously shattered the backboard during the 1996 NCAA tournament against North Carolina. Currently he's an assistant coach for the Atlanta Hawks. It would seem ideal to come back and be the head coach for your alma mater, but without knowing the situation in Atlanta, Darvin Ham may or may not be interested in the job.
Christ Beard is another name that has circled around and he seems to be the top candidate in many people's minds. It was reported by multiple sources that he was interested in the Texas Tech job upon knowing the situation with Tubby Smith. He was also an assistant coach here from 2001-2011. Keep a close eye on Chris Beard in the next couple of days.
I can only speculate as to how every player feels about Tubby leaving, but it begs the question of what will happen to the team? In my opinion, I don't see anything drastic happening to the roster in the next couple months. I will say that as of right now, there are four true freshman on the roster. I wouldn't be surprised if one feels the need to transfer feeling that they got the wrong end of a deal. It's common for players to transfer knowing that they no longer will be playing for the coach that recruited them.
Donovan Ham, CJ Williamson, Jordan Jackson, and Andrew Sorrells will have some decisions to make, but I don't think any of them will leave. As for the rest of the roster, the older guys, it seems that this has unified them. The team chemistry was undeniable this past season, and I believe that chemistry will be key in transitioning to a new head coach. So as for the players, I don't see any drastic changes happening overnight, but I wouldn't be surprised if one does leave.
It's unfortunate that we lost a great coach to another school. A lot is up in the air, and it almost seems that this program will regress. Again, I don't believe that is the case. If Kirby Hocutt is already hard at work looking for someone who will only carry the Red Raider further, I think this basketball team will be just fine. With the right hire, I see this roster only getting better.
The era that Tubby brought was exciting and it made for some great times in Lubbock, but it's time to move on. Whether it's Chris Beard or Darvin Ham, Texas Tech basketball has a shot to overcome diversity and improve on the amazing season we just had. The fans will have their preference in who they want to hire, but ultimately it's our job to cheer on our Red Raiders through every game, and hopefully into March of next year.