People often write me and ask whether I think Tubby will be fired at the end of the season. My general impression is that Tubby is safe if he wants to be safe…..which I am not sure that he does. I find it impossible to believe that he will be fired…..I think the stories of “buyouts from big boosters” are likely to be incorrect, and ultimately require Tubby’s agreement in any instance. I do think there is a decent chance that Tubby walks away….possibly to a temporary retirement or another pasture (Bobcats?).
However none of these scenarios are actually the most likely to me. I believe what is most probable is exactly what Dick Gabriel reported his “sources” told him tonight. I think it is very likely that Tubby is required by the administration to change his staff and bring on (a) a recruiting specialist and (b) an offensive guru. If so, that would mean that two of the above individuals will be let go. Specifically, I think it is virtually impossible for Scott Rigot and Reggie Hanson to be on the UK bench next year.
I have been very critical of both assistants in the last couple of years and I continue to be. Rigot was brought in, due in large part to his connections internationally, and was thought to be a recruiting ace….and while he has done a decent job, his performance has not been overwhelming. Hanson on the other hand has, in my view, utterly failed in his job as the de facto head recruiter at Kentucky. He should have been let go last year in my view and most of his duties in terms of organization of recruiting have been picked up by Shawn Finney at this point. Loyalty to Hanson due to his UK ties saved him this past year….they shouldnt save him again.
None of this is to say that Tubby doesnt deserve responsibility for the ultimate performance of the team and the recruiting. However the part of the game I follow most now is recruiting. A lot of that means talking to coaches, both high school and AAU, and evaluating how schools other than UK succeed, while UK seems to flounder. Universally the most common thing heard on the recruiting trail is “UK’s assistants dont know what they are doing in evaluation and they dont know how to relate to the kids.” Virtually everyone speaks about how assistants….who do the majority of the dirty work for all the programs in America…..are not working hard enough for UK. A guy like Steve Masiello at UL (who is a admittedly a bit of a turd) works hard and is a huge positive for UL. Unfortunately the UK recruiters are all too often a negative. Barnhart and UK see this and I think this is why this change will be forced. However if after this nothing changes…..well then I think Coach Smith’s leash will be mighty short.
There, I have weighed in on the offseason changes that I believe will, and for that matter should, happen. My focus, and the focus of this blog will now narrow in on the postseason, where hopefully all UK fans can find common ground in pulling for the Cats. Use these comments to debate Tubby all you want…… Just keep it here and not on the other topics…..