Veteran college basketball coach Tubby Smith will become the new head coach at Texas Tech, according to multiple media sources. Smith, was fired last week after six seasons coaching the Big Ten’s Minnesota Gophers. Prior to that, he had served as the head coach at Tulsa, Georgia and Kentucky in a 22-year career as a college head coach.
The 61-year-old Smith replaces Chris Walker, who served as interim head coach of the Red Raiders this past season following the sudden resignation of Billy Gillespie after one season for what was reported to be health reasons.
In the past six seasons at Minnesota, the veteran Smith posted five years with 20-plus wins and an overall record of 124-81. During that time, his team’s never finished higher than sixth in the highly competitive Big Ten, one of the country’s strongest basketball leagues, but he led them to three NCAA Tournament appearances in his siz seasons in Minneapolis. His 2012-13 Golden Gopher team was seeded 11th in the South Region, and defeated UCLA in its opening-round game before losting to Florida. In his 22 seasons as a head coach, Smith’s teams have won 69 percent of their games (511-226) and over 20 wins 19 times.
In his first season of a 10-year coaching reign at Kentucky, Smith guided the Wildcats to a national championship in 1997-98. Smith also won five Southeastern Conference championships at Kentucky. He is one of eight coaches who have taken four teams to the NCAA Tournament (in addition to Minnesota and Kentucky, he also led Georgia and Tulsa to NCAA appearances).
Texas Tech officials are hoping that Smith can turnaround the Red Raiders’ men’s basketball program, which has been struggling mightily since Bobby Knight resigned during the 2007-08 season. Knight won 20 or more games in five of his seven seasons as the Red Raiders head coach and had only one losing season. The Red Raiders went to the NCAA Tournament four times under Knight, but have not been back since 2007.
Smith becomes the fourth head coach of the Red Raiders in as many seasons.
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