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Tubby “Not Worth” His Extension?

“…and bonuses, and a buyout clause… and this paddle-ball game!”

Over the weekend, University of Minnesota officials released details of Tubby Smith’s new contract extension, which included a pay raise and added benefits for the veteran coach.  It didn’t take long for someone, in this case FoxSportsNorth’s Joan Niesen, to wonder if maybe, just maybe, he got a little too much.  After all, Smith had great success at Kentucky for ten years, and even though the last few years were a little low by our standards, any other school would absolutely kill for to have that same decade.  So it was no surprise that UM paid out the nose a little bit to hire him, and then again to extend his contract, even though his production with the Gophers has been, maybe, less than stellar.  Niesen explains:

Smith came to Minnesota on the heels of those 10 NCAA tournament berths [with Kentucky]. He had won the SEC just two years before he was hired, in 2004-05. He was a big-name coach sent to revive a program, and he was compensated as such. Five years later, he hasn’t made the tournament since 2010, when his team lost in the first round. In fact, Smith has never led the Gophers past the first round of the tournament and has never finished higher than sixth in the Big Ten standings. To improve his initial pay scale even marginally after what the economy has done since he was hired in 2007 represents a steep financial commitment to Smith on the part of the school.

What’s most interesting, though, are Smith’s bonuses. They’re greater than even Kentucky’s John Calipari’s, and for a reason. Such bonuses should be weighted in terms of their likelihood, and Calipari poses a strong threat to earn them. Smith, at least in the near term, is a longer shot, and the contract represents an implicit statement that the university is willing to pay through the nose for success if it’s possible. Smith hasn’t necessarily earned a guaranteed pay raise, but he has warranted the chance to make big money if he can take his team farther than he yet has since he came to Minnesota.

With the new contract, Smith is still compensated on par with the best coaches in college basketball, and the University of Minnesota is paying a premium for his past success. That success has been a burden, at times, but it still holds promise for the team, which has committed itself both to Smith and to a steep cost of success.

If I were a college coach, I would hate to try to recreate any success I had at Kentucky at a different school.  It’s just a completely different ballgame.  I don’t think Minnesota necessarily expected ten straight NCAA tournament appearances and a national championship, but you have to think they wanted to get close.  Now, even though Tubby hasn’t quite done what they wanted him to do, he’s still a big-name coach with lots of success that they want to make sure they’re able to keep.

There’s a very real chance that coaching at Kentucky spoils you for other NCAA jobs.  It’s hard to think that you’ll be able to match or exceed whatever success you’ve had at a different school, even though that’s sort of what folks want to hope will happen.  Tubby now finds himself in exactly that position: still getting paid for his time at Kentucky, five years after the fact, while others question whether he’s worth that much in the first place.  Here’s to hoping he has enough success this year to quiet the Joan Niesen’s of the world.

Article written by Corey Nichols

40 Comments for Tubby “Not Worth” His Extension?

  1. Head Bussa
    9:42 am August 7, 2012 Permalink

    If Tubby’s team can get through a season without injuries he will have a good year.

  2. JayCee
    9:43 am August 7, 2012 Permalink


    With a pimpass name like that, why in the wide world of sports would you ever let anyone call you “corey?”

  3. Bubba Earl
    9:48 am August 7, 2012 Permalink

    If I had a work record like that, I would have been fired
    from my dirt removal engineer job long ago!

  4. dave
    9:50 am August 7, 2012 Permalink

    “I don’t think Minnesota necessarily expected ten straight NCAA tournament appearances and a national championship, but you have to think they wanted to get close”
    they’d be happy with making the tourney every other year & having one good year (sweet 16/elite 8) of out five. which isnt close to what he did at UK

  5. JackB
    9:54 am August 7, 2012 Permalink

    Tubby had more success at Tulsa (Sweet 16) and UGA (2 Sweet 16’s in 2 years) than at Minn. I liked Tubby (except for his essentially taking the Minn. job while he still had six weeks of season – more if we had won more – at UK), but he took the same effort he gave at UK the last 2 years with him to Minn., and that isn’t enough to win big. If he weren’t such a good game coach, he would not have done as well as he has at Minn.

  6. Tubby Fan
    9:56 am August 7, 2012 Permalink

    He is worth every penny.

  7. Blasphemy
    10:00 am August 7, 2012 Permalink

    Arcoiris = Augh-cwah-REE….. French?

  8. Bob Sugar
    10:02 am August 7, 2012 Permalink

    If you have to leave Kentucky for another job, you did not get the job done plain and simple. Kentucky is a final destination job for the the best of the best. It’s unfortunate Mitch Barnyard didn’t realize this when he made the unforgivable decision to hire Billy G. That guy was not ready for this prime time job, and his lack of success proved it.
    Tubby Smith is another story. The man won a national championship in his first season then failed to reach a final four for the remaining nine seasons. Elite eights are expected, final fours are achievements, championships give you a five year maximum grace period to return to the final four at least. Tubby was running on fumes when a weak sec schedule (Yes even Florida the #1 ranked team briefly) bailed him out in 2003. Yeah Keith Bogans ankle was hurt, but UK was in for a trouble against Kansas or Syracuse if they had gotten past the Big East tested Marquette. Once agan, Tubby was exposed in 2004 when a physical UAB team beat the number one overall seed in the tournament. That second round loss itself hurt Tubby’s legacy badly. The failure of his best recruiting class of his tenure was another nail in the coffin. While they made the 2005 elite eight in a bit of a fluke, they lost to an inferior Michigan St. team where Tubby was severely outcoached. The inner turmoil, lack of discipline, and general boring style of play of the Tubby Smith era ultimately brought him sown during the last two seasons. Kentucky wasn’t a contender, fielded a team with C+ talent as evidenced by their recruiting rankings, and Tubby plunged the program into the depths that if not for a true Hall of Fame Coach would have taken 5-7 years to emerge from. Tubby had a great win percentage for sure and that 98 championship run was magical, but the man fell asleep at the wheel and failed to win when it mattered most.

  9. Fake Bob Sugar
    10:06 am August 7, 2012 Permalink

    “Durka Durr.” – Bob Sugar

    Go Tubby, Go CATS. #AlwaysFamily

  10. Burger
    10:08 am August 7, 2012 Permalink

    “Drool Dribble Thud zzz…” – Bob “High Fructose Corn” Syzurp

  11. Burger
    10:09 am August 7, 2012 Permalink

    Tubby got lucky. Good person, right place at the right time. Would be an awesome High School Basketball coach or a Georgia Bulldog legend.

  12. Lou eaton
    10:10 am August 7, 2012 Permalink

    Truly amazing contract BUT it’s all about expectations and they are low at UM compared to UK. #8 sums it all up very well and Tubby obviously won a NC with Pitino’s players. His flaw admittedly was a disdain for recruiting which by the way is an essential ingredient to success. His final conference finishes of 9-7 last two years was indicative of where he had taken the program at UK. Good man but average coach. Actually better coach than some credit him but without players still very average…which will be his legacy.

  13. houseofstark
    10:10 am August 7, 2012 Permalink

    “….any other school would kill to have that same decade.” You really think that UNC, Duke, Michigan State, Syracuse, Connecticut, or Florida (and also possibly UCLA and Kansas) would trade 1997-2007 with us? I seriously doubt it. Tubby did not have “great success” here, what a ridiculous thing to say. If he was a great success, he would still be on the sidelines in Lexington, not in Minnesota.

  14. Burger
    10:11 am August 7, 2012 Permalink

    Hey Corey… changing your name won’t get you a second chance. Just ask Bob Sugar.

  15. eh
    10:15 am August 7, 2012 Permalink

    7. rainbow?

  16. barn
    10:17 am August 7, 2012 Permalink

    13–damn right. tubby is not a great coach. period

  17. kes
    10:34 am August 7, 2012 Permalink

    Lazy,loser,liar,fraud. pitino left tubby a cadillac, tubby left billy clyde a yugo. tubby is the most OVERRATED coach in college basketball

  18. David Elswick
    10:42 am August 7, 2012 Permalink

    Tubby was 9-1 in the NCAA Tournament in his first 2 seasons at UK and 14-8 in the tournament in his last 8 seasons at UK combined.

    Tubby is a decent/good coach whose status was elevated by Kentucky and who walked into an ideal situation in 1998. Yes, he coached the team and deserves credit for doing so, but he’s never built a championship team in his career. He’s a decent/good coach, but not a great coach.

  19. Ten Loss Tubby
    10:43 am August 7, 2012 Permalink

    #17. I concur!!!! The Tub’s the worst coach I’ve ever seen. Cal’s the best. Tickles me to death we don’t have to suffer through Tubbyball any more.

  20. tom5673
    10:46 am August 7, 2012 Permalink

    #8 and #13…on the money! i can’t stand to read posts and comments from those that think all the blame falls on billy gillispie. was he a good hire? of course not. it was awful, and he clearly was not the man for the job. BUT, it was the boring style of play, lack of recruiting skill and general lethargy that put uk in the mediocre position they were in when coach smith left without a press conference for minnesota.
    gillispie was actually recruiting better than the guys tubby was bringing in. it is ridiculous when you look back at some of those uk rosters compared to what we have now. coach smith is a great man and a good coach. but, he drove our program into the ground…period.
    go big blue!

  21. Paul
    10:55 am August 7, 2012 Permalink

    Tubby bashers are Fools. This crap about him winning with Pitino’s players angers me the most.
    He won that NC with the players that Pitino could not. I really dont understand you fools.

  22. JoeyC
    10:59 am August 7, 2012 Permalink

    Who cares about what Minnesota gives their coach? You rednecks need to get off the guy who was here 5 years and 5 coaches ago.

  23. Dear IU and UL, We are National Champs; you are not. The end.
    11:03 am August 7, 2012 Permalink

    Tubby is easily a top 100 coach.

  24. SteveM
    11:11 am August 7, 2012 Permalink

    Officials at UM are a bunch of fools. I could care less what they pay Smith, but I thank god he is no longer at UK.

  25. Blasphemy
    11:23 am August 7, 2012 Permalink

    15) What?

  26. burger
    11:41 am August 7, 2012 Permalink

    Pitino – Could recruit and had a good offensive system.
    Calipari – Is the best recruiter and has a good offensive system.
    Tubby – Can’t recruit and has a horrible offensive system.

    All 3 coaches have good defense.
    All 3 coaches get their players to work hard.

    The problem with Tubby and Pitino are, they have inferior talent to Calipari.

    Pitino has a chance against Cal since he actually has an offense and recruits to work with.

  27. Peterman
    11:54 am August 7, 2012 Permalink

    Great reference to “The Jerk”.

  28. UKMike
    12:04 pm August 7, 2012 Permalink

    I like Tubby, he’s a good floor coach.

    Having said that, based on his performance at Minnesota, its hard to justify a raise or contract extension. He still doesn’t recruit well, and certainly hasn’t been winning in the Big 10.

    It can’t be injuries every year that keep him from excelling. Some of its luck, some if it is training <—the latter part can be controlled.

  29. Freedom Hall
    12:23 pm August 7, 2012 Permalink

    Isn’t Louisville paying for Pitino’s success at UK, just like Minnesota is for Tubby’s?

  30. cracka
    1:27 pm August 7, 2012 Permalink

    ^^^ BOOM!!! ^^^

  31. Roger White
    1:27 pm August 7, 2012 Permalink

    Tubby could have done better these last few years.

    I am not sure that Minnesota is thrilled with where they are but hopeful about the possibility.
    They might have noticed what happened at UK after Tubby exited.

  32. RoyceWhite
    1:28 pm August 7, 2012 Permalink

    Not Roger

  33. Arcoiris Nichols
    2:03 pm August 7, 2012 Permalink

    27 – Glad you appreciated it. Great movie.

  34. Tom Crean
    2:09 pm August 7, 2012 Permalink

    33 – let me know if you need help finding your special purpose…

  35. BigBlue
    2:25 pm August 7, 2012 Permalink

    Tubby is lazy.

  36. R. Smith
    3:57 pm August 7, 2012 Permalink

    so the logic is that even though he sucks now, keep him because he was good at Kentucky?

  37. Beavis
    4:42 pm August 7, 2012 Permalink

    Has anyone ever heard Tubby try to explain his ” ball line ” defense ? He is a legend in his own mind.

  38. KevDaly
    6:48 pm August 7, 2012 Permalink

    Orlando has been a joke for a few years now.
    If Minnesota had the sense to fire his lazy ass, no other school in the nation would be clamoring for him at the price these idiots are paying him.

  39. KevDaly
    6:50 pm August 7, 2012 Permalink

    Roger 31, what happened after he left U.K. was because of him.
    What are you smoking?

  40. Rosemarie Curlin
    2:22 pm August 8, 2012 Permalink

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