Last April, to the shock of many, Kentucky head coach Tubby Smith resigned to accept the same position at the University of Minnesota. Smith noted that he felt like he needed a new challenge and Minnesota was the perfect place to regain the fire that he once had.
Is that really the reason Orlando ‘Tubby’ Smith decided to leave?
Let’s be honest, coaching at the University of Kentucky is as good as it gets. So I ask, who in the hell leaves the pinnacle program in all of college basketball for……gulp….MINNESOTA?
The answer is really an easy one. Coach Smith saw the writing on the wall for the near future of the Kentucky program. Already under fire for lack of tournament success, Tubby put back to back seasons with 12+ losses and eight seeds in the NCAA Tournament.
Hardly Kentucky standards.
Tubby Smith Is Introduced As The New Head Coach of Minnesota
The inability to attract big time recruits to Kentucky was a major downfall for Smith. I will admit, as most should, he is one hell of a coach. Tubby seemed to be at his best with solid prospects who bought into the team principle of winning, and not the McDonalds’ All-Americans.
That is fine; I can accept that 100%. The 2003 and 2004 teams were made of mostly this type of description. Players like Erik Daniels, Cliff Hawkins, and Gerald Fitch were not highly recruited, but where solid, solid basketball players.
During the closing years of Smith’s tenure he wasn’t even attracting the caliber of player I just mentioned, instead, it was athletes who you could tell every time they stepped on the floor were out of their league wearing the Kentucky Jersey. I won’t mention names, but you can pretty much assume what you want on who those players are, and you are most likely right with your assumption.
Watching the 2007 team so far this season has been one of the most frustrating things I have ever endured as a Cat fan. No one should hold Tubby accountable for the Gardner-Webb loss as any average team should be able to at least stay within sixteen to the Bulldogs, especially at Rupp Arena. The hardest thing to stomach however is the past two weekends watching the Wildcats look like kittens compared to the talent produced by North Carolina and Indiana.
Looking out on the floor and seeing our talent level, compared to where it was just three or four seasons ago would make anyone who cheers for the blue and white cringe.
I have always liked Tubby Smith, as a coach, and most importantly as a human being. But don’t tell me the reason you left was because you needed a new challenge. You bolted because of the shortcomings in recruiting and other internal obstacles that have pushed Kentucky from a every year top 20 team, to a program that is barely keeping it’s head above water to even grab a vote in all of the major polls.
BCG Just Doesn’t Have The Horses
The heat became to hot to handle. Was it time for a change? Yes. It is just hard to understand how you can have every possible resource you would ever need to succeed in college basketball, and you drive a historic program from the very top to the middle of the pack.
Things have changed so much in the past decade, and even though there were some GREAT times along the way, the bad times have overwhelmed them by major contrast. In fact, to the point where Kentucky is just another name in College basketball these days.
My o my, where have the good times gone?