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It’s time for Tubby to be in the Rafters

Justin Ford | USA TODAY Sports

Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

We have waited long enough. It is time for Tubby Smith to be in the rafters at Rupp Arena. Tubby was the definition of class and brought in many of the names we now call as some of the top players in program history.

Orlando “Tubby” Smith was introduced as the 20th coach of the Kentucky Wildcats on May 12th, 1997. Returning to Lexington after stops at Tulsa and Georgia, Smith had the tough task of replacing the *then popular head coach Rick Pitino.

In his first season, Kentucky won their 7th National Championship and while he didn’t get back to the championship game during his time in Lexington, but did return to the Elite Eight three more times.

The pressure built throughout his tenure though as fans never seemed to be that impressed with the success that his teams had. Some fans also weren’t fond of his signature “Tubbyball,” which focused more on defense and slower paced games.

Tubby resigned in 2007 to take the job at Minnesota. Following his stint there, he has made stops at Texas Tech and Memphis before returning to his alma mater High Point earlier this year.

Kentucky has put three of their former coaches in the rafters and each of them won a National Championship. In fact, Smith and John Calipari are the only two coaches to win a championship and not be in the rafters. Cal is a guarantee to be there one day, but we need to stop waiting to put Tubby there.

How it should be done is simple. Kentucky should welcome Tubby’s High Point team to Rupp Arena for a game this coming season. It would be one of their “easier” non conference games. Either before or after the game, his name can be raised to the rafters.

There is no reason to keep waiting. Tubby Smith should have been in the rafters already.

Article written by Sam Gormley

Follow me on Twitter @GormleyKSR; "The Whitest Man in the World"-JRock

43 Comments for It’s time for Tubby to be in the Rafters

  1. jim tom
    3:09 pm July 1, 2018 Permalink

    Yes, yes it is. And here come the haters in 3, 2, 1….

    • bigbluebanana
      3:33 pm July 1, 2018 Permalink

      I put the same comment the other day, except mine was about SEC haters coming in 3, 2, 1… no one ever said anything! This may be the way to shut up the trolls!

    • ukkatzfan
      4:09 pm July 1, 2018 Permalink

      Or Maybe the haters are the negative people who expect haters. By the way, I am just here to troll the bigbluebanana. Hahahahahaha.

    • bigbluebanana
      4:23 pm July 1, 2018 Permalink

      Glad to have you katzfan. I think moving forward, no matter what the points are, you and I should always be there for each other, trolling when all hope for trolling is lost!

  2. BPatte
    3:15 pm July 1, 2018 Permalink

    It’s past time to put Tubby in the rafters. Let’s do it right, and recognize an outstanding coach and person.

  3. Blublood41
    3:26 pm July 1, 2018 Permalink

    Who makes that decision? Bernhardt?

  4. SHCooper
    3:28 pm July 1, 2018 Permalink

    He deserves it.

    Kinda related since Memphis fired him just to get Wiseman, I hope we get him even more now. Lol.

  5. SuperTroy18
    3:31 pm July 1, 2018 Permalink

    He deserves to be in the rafters. Very good coach, but an even better human being. He won a TON of games here: he belongs in the rafters. Bring him back to honor him. If we don’t, and eventually Cal goes in the rafters, how horrible will that look for the program?

  6. Park
    3:33 pm July 1, 2018 Permalink

    I always hoped Tubby would follow a similar arc as Joe B Hall. Hall was not exactly a fan favorite when his time as head coach was coming to an end. Now he is beloved by all it seems. Tubby is a great person, won a championship (and a lot of games) for us, and had several teams that could have won. I agree he should be in the rafters.

  7. Drogon
    3:43 pm July 1, 2018 Permalink

    The guy who left out of here like a thief in the night? Sure, why not!

    • lexcatfan2367
      4:01 pm July 1, 2018 Permalink

      The guy who got UK a title. I don’t want to hear the BS about Rick’s players. I’m pretty sure Tubby had his own plays and methods for coaching. It doesn’t matter how he left. Btw, Rick said he’d never leave…the following week, he left for the Celtics.

    • krautdog
      6:48 pm July 1, 2018 Permalink

      Only because he finally relented & let them play the style they had been taught did they win the championship!

    • mm40
      4:06 pm July 1, 2018 Permalink

      That would imply that his departure was not expected, when it fact it was at least some what expected. Try to have at least a small amount of truth to your comments.

    • rainman
      4:27 pm July 1, 2018 Permalink

      More like the guy who was run off by ignorant (racist) fans?

    • dismore
      5:33 pm July 1, 2018 Permalink

      Oh God here we go with the race card. Must be a liberal.

    • rainman
      8:12 pm July 1, 2018 Permalink

      Truth hurts HUH?
      WHAT does that make YOU?

    • catdaddyd
      1:17 am July 2, 2018 Permalink

      Look at his record since he left UK, if he was run off, seems like the right decision.

  8. rainman
    4:25 pm July 1, 2018 Permalink


  9. Fitz
    5:31 pm July 1, 2018 Permalink

    If it were possible to agree with an idea at more than 100% I would on this one. It’s difficult to follow a great act in any business and Tubby did it in with winning a title. Not a great coach or very good recruiter, the Tubster is an outstanding person.

    Someone asked who makes that decision. I’m surprised it wasn’t in the article. Does anyone know?

  10. Rick_S
    5:34 pm July 1, 2018 Permalink


  11. Rabbi Li
    5:38 pm July 1, 2018 Permalink

    Uh no. Time to take Pitino down.

  12. sincitycat
    5:47 pm July 1, 2018 Permalink

    When Pitino took the Louisville job UK might have changed its policy so as not to retire a coach’s jersey while they are still coaching.

  13. serdi
    6:38 pm July 1, 2018 Permalink

    NO since I could not speak the truth and sound reason for NO

  14. 2thepoint
    6:57 pm July 1, 2018 Permalink

    Because he son the titke he drserves in, but Tubby won with Ricks players. Tubby was so tough on his players he would look like he was ready to kill them and then back away rapidly. He was so honest he found a misplaced fax for Morris. He was such a fine person he left his team and coaches in the middle of the night without saying see ya. He was an average coach at GA. He was fired at MN and Memphis. He did his best work at Texas Tech.

    • rainman
      8:15 pm July 1, 2018 Permalink


    • cats646
      5:51 am July 2, 2018 Permalink

      No rain man, please dear lord, NO.

  15. Jesus H. Chrysler
    7:19 pm July 1, 2018 Permalink

    Might as well put Saul Smith’s #11 jersey beside Tubby’s

  16. CatManDo
    7:29 pm July 1, 2018 Permalink

    I have always been a defender of Tubby. The “he won with Rick’s team” has always bothered me. While the 98 team was really good, it was far from “bring in any stub coach and he will win a title.”
    I am afraid that given today’s current state of sensitivity, this is a race related article, even though it doesn’t reference it. I am sure many of the comments will reflect this unfortunately.

  17. HackRichards
    8:53 pm July 1, 2018 Permalink

    I agree. Tubby needs to be recognized.

  18. Kat4Life
    10:03 pm July 1, 2018 Permalink

    I don’t know.….I could certainly support it, but it did not jump out as a gross injustice to be honest. Sure he ran a clean program and had a number of very competitive teams. He won 20 games every year, went to the NCAA tourney every year, and was regular season champ 9 times. But he never had another Final Four after the first season, and his last two teams were both underperformers that laid eggs. On balance, it’s probably the right thing to let him in. Any guy that holds than helm for 10 years deserves it.

  19. gwhittle
    10:29 pm July 1, 2018 Permalink

    Tubby is a great guy. But a mediocre coach. That doesn’t get you in the rafters in my opinion.

  20. Catuary
    10:29 pm July 1, 2018 Permalink

    I don’t think Tubby belongs in the rafters, nor does Rick. Both coaches left Kentucky to pursue their careers elsewhere. I don’t begrudge them for it, but I hold the rafters honor in a higher esteem than do most other commenters. Tubby ran a clean program and had a lot of class, but that alone isn’t enough. He voluntarily left the program to coach at another school and has been fired several times since.

    Remember this classic?
    Q: How do you build a top 30 basketball team?
    A: Take a #1 team and hire Tubby Smith!

  21. BrassowFan
    11:30 pm July 1, 2018 Permalink

    I think it’s due time to do this, he won a title and was (and has remained) an excellent ambassador of the program. The only thing that would make it better is if we made room for it by removing the banner of his predecessor!

  22. Angelo
    2:40 am July 2, 2018 Permalink

    hell yes!!! championships matter…

  23. kentuckyrld
    7:13 am July 2, 2018 Permalink

    Not now; not never; not ever.

  24. (Aixelsyd)0505
    7:42 am July 2, 2018 Permalink

    Hell yes Tubby should definitely be in the rafters with his 98’ team, that uk vs dUKe game to get to the final 4, besting numerous #1 teams at home with mediocre teams and putting a 30pt win against a ranked UL team. Don’t forget his defense was some of the best defensive teams to ever don the Blue/White! WITH 3 star guys at that!

    • (Aixelsyd)0505
      7:48 am July 2, 2018 Permalink

      Plus finding Chuck Hayes, Who is the only All- American that couldn’t dunk at the PF position lol…. legend still

  25. UKsuperdave
    9:37 am July 2, 2018 Permalink

    Of course Tubby should be there. We had some really great teams under Tubby.

    Rick – 1 title in 8 years .814 wining %
    Cal – 1 title in 9 years .810 wining %
    Tubbly – 1 title in 10 years .760 wining %

  26. FrankySSSuper
    3:03 pm July 2, 2018 Permalink

    After Rick’s crew won the championship, which of Tubby’s teams after that won? (I know this is an unpopular point of view) If the championship could have been recreated after they were gone, that’d be one thing. However, I don’t think they even made it back to the Final Four after that year. I can see both sides of this argument, but I’m just not that impressed with Tubby. I think the rafters should be for the greats, and the greats alone.