Skip to content

Kentucky Sports Radio

University of Kentucky Basketball, Football, and Recruiting news brought to you in the most ridiculous manner possible.

Blast from the Past: Donovan vs. Smith

 

 

It’s been six years since Tubby Smith last coached in the SEC, but when he looks at his opposing coach today in the quest for a Sweet 16 bid, he’ll see someone all too familiar. Tubby Smith and Billy Donovan were assistants together at Kentucky under Rick Pitino from 1989-1991, and since leaving for different jobs, the two have squared off 24 times while coaching at Georgia and Kentucky (Smith) and Florida (Donovan), playing against each other for SEC Championships twice. Smith owns the all-time head-to-head advantage over his former co-worker, 16-10. 

 

Pat Dooley, a columnist from the Gainesville Sun had an interesting take on the diverging paths Smith and Donovan have taken since working together at Kentucky. Donovan, known as “Billy the Kid” for his young, eager personality, took Florida from being a football school playing in the NIT to a team that won the national championship twice in a row and is now consistently atop the SEC. Smith, on the other hand, left the nation’s toughest job for a place where he was “wanted”:

 

Smith left Kentucky after 10 seasons. The best way to describe his departure is that it was a divorce, and Kentucky got custody of the kids. Smith had grown tired of the toughest basketball job in America, and Kentucky fans were tired of not being the best team in the country every year.

 

Fans will remember that when Tubby left, he had lost six straight games to Billy Donovan and Florida (going 11-9 against them over his career as Kentucky coach). And interestingly enough, when Smith left Lexington for the Great North, Donovan was one of the first and most popular names tossed around as his replacement. Their careers have been intertwined, and tonight’s game marks one more chapter in their combined histories.

 

Suffice to say, the two coaches know each other and each other’s coaching style like the back of their hands. This game (tip off is 6:10 pm EST on TNT) will decide a Sweet 16 berth rather than an SEC Championship, but for fans like me who grew up with Tubby Smith as Kentucky’s coach (I bet you feel old now, right?), it’ll be a trip down Memory Lane- and just like old times, I’ll be rooting for the defensively tough Tubby ball team.

 

@KristenGeilKSR

Article written by Kristen Geil

43 Comments for Blast from the Past: Donovan vs. Smith



  1. shane
    5:36 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    Tubby wasn’t fired from UK, he left on his own free will!



  2. Rae
    5:39 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    2. It’s over. You are the only one still whining about it. Losing to Robert Morris means jack squat in the long run. The season is over, and it isn’t like they ruined some greatly anticipated tournament run. Vandy ruined our season more than they did. I find it funny how Louisville fans are trying to make it look like we are having a meltdown, or hoping to sting us with those comments, when it just doesn’t matter that much.



  3. dave
    5:39 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    you spend two paragraphs talking bout how tubby left and then say he was fired…..



  4. go cats
    5:41 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    Tubby’s agent contacted Minnesota 6 weeks before the end of the season…..telling them Smith was interested. Tubby was told by the AD his assistants’ contracts would not be renewed…….simply due to the fact that they weren’t recruiting any top players, in fact many of them had never been contacted by the cats at all!



  5. Oh Yes
    5:41 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    Yes, IU is just fantastic. Let’s see how they do in their next game. Can hardly wait…



  6. Mitch Barnhart
    5:42 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    “We didn’t fire Tubby.”



  7. Mike
    5:49 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    “Good Enough to Lose.” Story of my Life.



  8. Joe
    5:50 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    Indiana made the sweet 16. I guess they will make rings now. Probably hang a banner for making it as well.

    Indiana is way overrated.



  9. OOl' Ball Coach
    5:52 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    Tubby took every team he coached to the Ncaa tourney. No other UK coach can say that. Great man, good coach, lacked ability to pull in top ranked recruits but still won his share. There’s no team left in this tourney that I’m pulling for over Minnesota. Go Gophers!



  10. VickieD
    5:53 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    Having difficulty knowing whether to root for KU or UNC. Can they both lose?



  11. Hugh Heffner
    5:56 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    16) cool- Cal is one of only two coaches to have taken multiple teams to the final four



  12. L1C4
    6:00 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    I love coach cal! I love coach cal! I love coach cal! I love coach cal!I love coach cal! I love coach cal!
    I love coach cal! I love coach cal!I love coach cal! I love coach cal!I love coach cal! I love coach cal!
    I love coach cal! I love coach cal!I love coach cal! I love coach cal!I love coach cal! I love coach cal!I love coach cal! I love coach cal!I love coach cal! I love coach cal!I love coach cal! I love coach cal! I love coach cal! I love coach cal!I love coach cal! I love coach cal! I love coach cal! I love coach cal! I love coach cal! I love coach cal!I love coach cal! I love coach cal!I love coach cal! I love coach cal! I love coach cal! I love coach cal!I love coach cal! I love coach cal!
    I love coach cal! I love coach cal!I love coach cal! I love coach cal!I love coach cal! I love coach cal!
    I love coach cal! I love coach cal!I love coach cal! I love coach cal!I love coach cal! I love coach cal!I love coach cal! I love coach cal!I love coach cal! I love coach cal!
    I love coach cal! I love coach cal!I love coach cal! I love coach cal!I love coach cal! I love coach cal!
    I love coach cal! I love coach cal!I love coach cal! I love coach cal!I love coach cal! I love coach cal!I love coach cal! I love coach cal!I love coach cal! I love coach cal!
    I love coach cal! I love coach cal!I love coach cal! I love coach cal!I love coach cal! I love coach cal!
    I love coach cal! I love coach cal!I love coach cal! I love coach cal!I love coach cal! I love coach cal!I love coach cal! I love coach cal!I love coach cal! I love coach cal!



  13. L1C4
    6:02 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    Lol, SI has pickup on this story about Tubby being fired. I am sure Pete T. will start an investigation!



  14. Rex's Mullet
    6:02 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    I’m pulling for unc. Always go with the underdog when the cats aren’t playing. Plus unc is less of a threat to go all the way.



  15. L1C4
    6:02 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    Coach cal is my daddy! UK is my big brother!Coach cal is my daddy! UK is my big brother!Coach cal is my daddy! UK is my big brother!Coach cal is my daddy! UK is my big brother! Coach cal is my daddy! UK is my big brother! Coach cal is my daddy! UK is my big brother!Coach cal is my daddy! UK is my big brother!Coach cal is my daddy! UK is my big brother!Coach cal is my daddy! UK is my big brother!Coach cal is my daddy! UK is my big brother!Coach cal is my daddy! UK is my big brother!Coach cal is my daddy! UK is my big brother!Coach cal is my daddy! UK is my big brother!
    Coach cal is my daddy! UK is my big brother!Coach cal is my daddy! UK is my big brother!Coach cal is my daddy! UK is my big brother!Coach cal is my daddy! UK is my big brother! Coach cal is my daddy! UK is my big brother! Coach cal is my daddy! UK is my big brother!Coach cal is my daddy! UK is my big brother!Coach cal is my daddy! UK is my big brother!Coach cal is my daddy! UK is my big brother!Coach cal is my daddy! UK is my big brother!Coach cal is my daddy! UK is my big brother!Coach cal is my daddy! UK is my big brother!Coach cal is my daddy! UK is my big brother!



  16. L1C4
    6:05 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    Pitino splurged N ma mouf aftar juss 15 seconds! I waz soe dizz a point tid 🙁



  17. L1C4
    6:09 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    I was born in 1999. My team last won the ‘chip in 1986, thirteen years before I was conceived in the back seat of a ’75 Nova. In fact, my mom was only 14 when she had me, so even she has no memory of Da Ville’s winning it all. That’s kinda pathetic, isn’t it?



  18. Jarweed
    6:10 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    Although I’m not really interested, taking Tubby’s gophers to beat the Widow’s Peak Waffler.



  19. Commish
    6:11 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    Watching NC and Kansas and it just hit me why college game looks so bad offensively…. Players can not shoot the ball! …this game is up and down and Kansas has 17 pts with 3 min to go…. NC is 8 for 36 from the floor!!



  20. Yahoo
    6:27 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    That’s a concept a fan outside of UK fan base wouldn’t comprehend!



  21. Rei
    6:35 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    Tubby was terrible after 2004 or so. Idk why UK fans love him so much. Mediocrity isn’t something to be proud of.



  22. Mikey
    6:37 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    #43-yeah we’re turning a blind eye. The man just won a championship last year. Gee, Tubby won a championship and went 9 more freakin years without a final four and still didn’t get let go. Including a year with future nba veterans as upperclassmen and the the #1 recruiting class helping them. Didn’t turn a blind eye my ass. You think Cal can go 8 more years withou a final four and still be the coach? Idiot



  23. ThatsAShame
    6:38 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    Did she really post a Tubby article? How about the next one about Obamacare and coal’s as a fossil fuel? Maybe we can work in a religious reference ?

    UK fan site + OTS reference = Automatic nerd fight

    I love this team!



  24. CardsR'us
    6:39 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    Now if we can just talk about how Denny Crum WAS fired by Usmell. He had to be fired. He’d only won 2 titles for our program. We had to make room for 15Tick Rick.
    We thought after he took Big Brother to the promised land 1 time, another championship game his last year there, and a FInal FOur in ’93 that within the first 10 yrs he’d get us at least to a championship game out of 15Tick Rick. Boy were we wrong.
    15Tick Rick better win it this year or we’re going to have to look elsewhere again!
    Has it really been 27 years for us? I’ve still got Championship pictures in Black and WHite. Do they still make that kind of film?



  25. Bigcat4453
    6:46 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    A group of idividuals plays differently than a TEAM, don’t you think?



  26. Linda Taylor
    6:49 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    How can a 1 seed (Kansas) have 23 points in a game with 3 1/2 minutes to go in the 2nd half, the 2nd half? Pathetic.



  27. Linda Taylor
    6:52 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    I guess the graphic on the screen was wrong. That would have been unbelievable.



  28. niaps
    6:56 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    I see Tubby has it going as usual against Billy , being his bitch just like he did at UK



  29. Bigcat4453
    6:56 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    IU had only 58 total points ina agame and 16 of them were from teh freethrow line!



  30. Linda Taylor
    7:01 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    Seriously I rewound the broadcast and the graphic said UNC 30 Kan 23 2nd half with 3:27 to go. I guess they meant 1st. After the commercials it was corrected. I forgot I had rewound it earlier too so my husband could hear what Charles Barkley had said about IU. So I wasn’t watching the FL-MN game live. But for CBS to make that kind of mistake on the graphic, wow.



  31. Linda Taylor
    7:04 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    I guess CBS is like KSR, facts are optional.



  32. Linda Taylor
    7:06 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    47 – So your name is Linda Taylor too?



  33. Linda Taylor
    7:07 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    Seriously there was a #47!



  34. Linda's Doctor
    7:09 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    Linda, it is ok. U can come back now.



  35. wow
    7:09 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    KSR deleted about 20 comments from this thread



  36. Jbcruser
    9:13 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    Anyonw ever wonder what the UK landscape would look like today if the RiGHT coach (Billy D) had been hired when Pitino left?



  37. Hmmm
    9:14 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    How can they have played 24 times and Tubby has a 16-10 record? Wouldn’t that mean they have played 26 times?



  38. Jbcruser
    9:15 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    Remember what UK was like when TLT took over Rick’s team with Rick’s players…and where it was when he left.



  39. Jbcruser
    9:16 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    Remember what UK was like when TLT took over Rick’s team with Rick’s players…and where it was when he left. no way!



  40. Eli
    10:35 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    “…and Kentucky fans were tired of not being the best team in the country every year.”

    I like how this implies Tubby was having even moderate success in his later years, when he wasn’t. Maybe if it said, “and Kentucky fans were tired of struggling to make the top 25 and make it out of the first weekend, every year.”



  41. 2020
    10:57 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    Tubby had lost 6 straight to Florida + 4 straight to Vanderbilt when he left. That’s simply terrible.



  42. Flubby
    7:07 am March 25, 2013 Permalink

    I got my ass handed to me by Billy D.

    I suck!

    All the best,

    Ten Loss Tubby



  43. rex's mullet
    2:56 pm March 25, 2013 Permalink

    Matt, what happened to the line where little Kristen said Tubby was fired, and all of the posts pointing out the error? I remember when you used to rag on the CJ and Herald Leader for pulling that crap; editing out your bad “facts” instead of acknowleging them and posting a correction. I still like and appreciate the work you do, but are you becoming too much of a true journalist? No offense, but don’t forget where you came from. Keep it ridiculous.