Texas Tech hires Tubby Smith while U of M keeps looking
There is no mystery about the well-designed plan to oust six-year U of M Gopher men’s basketball Head Coach Tubby Smith. Well designed, but ill-advised and poorly executed, as seen in various Star Tribune headlines Monday, March 25 through Monday, April 1.
25th: “Firing Smith would be big mistake by Gophers” (Sid Hartman)
26th: “Tubby out, U search in high gear” (Dennis Brackin)
26th: “U: time for a change”
26th: “Tubby’s best not enough”
27th: “Mn in position like sleeping giant”
28th: “Search moves on; Smart to stay at VCU”
29th: “U leaders mold coaching network”
30th: “Stop fretting, Flip [Saunders] is the right fit”
31st: “Flip says no to U”
1st: “Tubby Smith to Texas Tech; Minnesota search continues”
1st: “Minnesota basketball coaching job: Who wants it?”
Have you wondered, as I have, as to why, even when the Gophers were 15-1, the Star Tribune’s little lady from North Carolina [by way of short stints — after graduating from college — at the Boston Globe and the Detroit Free Press] was so hostile in her sports coverage of U basketball? Sources within the U as well as Minneapolis sports scene movers and shakers enable us to connect the dots.
The announcement that Tubby found a new job April 1 at Texas Tech was no April Fool’s joke. The fool’s part is the U’s continued stumbling in their handling of coaching.
It was from ESPN, not the Star Tribune, that we learned the U’s VA brain trust first offered the job to Cincinnati Coach Mick Cronin before offering the job to Shaka Smart, VCU’s brilliant young coach. The only reporter who stood tall in this entire episode was Sid Hartman: “Firing Smith would be a big mistake for Gophers,” read his March 26 headline.
Dennis Bracken also showed integrity in his “Tubby out” piece, March 26. Brackin cleverly suggests AD Norwood Teague is not the brilliant basketball wizard U propaganda promotes (while the Star Tribune reporter who criticized Tubby, even when 15-1, continues to promote Teague as the greatest since burnt rice), noting the $6 million in recent buyouts to coaches Munson, Mason, Brewster and Smith.
What is so troubling about the Star Tribune, this once great newspaper, is how much it doesn’t get right, including about Flip Saunders, who subsequently also turned the U down. How were Norwood Teague and Mike Ellis so off point that they thought they created the best coaching carousel plan?
The decision to attempt to humiliate Tubby Smith by reporting his firing to the news media before extending the courtesy of informing him that he was out as the head coach of the Golden Gophers raises serious questions about the future and integrity of U of M sports’ future under the gentlemen from Virginia and the reporting of their actions by the lady from North Carolina, not to mention those of the Twin Cities press corps who worked hard to make this plan a success. It’s a plan that has gone the way of the Hindenberg: The U could not tie down the coach from Cincinatti, nor coaches from VA Commonwealth, Florida Gulf Coast University, Marquette, etc.
Having developed a Mickey Mouse plan, why didn’t the U just ask Disney to give them Mickey Mouse, as that is what they have turned the image and reputation of the U into during their coach search — a Mickey Mouse plan with Mickey Mouse results? They should have asked for the casting rights before putting this dog-and-pony Mickey Mouse show production on the big circuit.
Sid Hartman was on point. Dennis Bracken had the right idea. The rest, from VA and NC, were part of a mean-spirited plan to humiliate and destroy a good and decent human being.
Texas Tech, within less than a week, appreciating Tubby’s principles and values and recognizing his ability to uplift a program that had fallen on hard times, as he did in Georgia, Tulsa, Kentucky, and MN, hired him. Texas Tech is getting a man who won a national title, won five Southeastern Conference championships, and established a reputation as a successful program builder. Texas Tech is getting a coach who has had 20 or more wins in 18 of 21 head coaching seasons.
Even though we say “shame on you, U,” we still wish you all the best in getting a coach to give you what all schools want: wins. But the U’s responsibility for the U’s fix is not, as suggested by the lady from North Carolina, the fans. She blames them for the firing of and disrespect shown to Tubby Smith.
You U guys won that Oscar. You’ve become a living legend for futility, dishonesty, indecency, and just plain mean-spirited thinking. I hope you make it to the Final Four next year (the top final four, not the bottom final four).
God bless you, Tubby Smith. The hand of righteousness is still on your shoulder. We can’t say the same about the U.
Ron Edwards hosts “Black Focus” on Channel 17, MTN-TV, Sundays, 5-6 pm, and hosts Blog Talk Radio’s “Black Focus V” on Sundays, 3-3:30 pm and Thursdays, 7-8:30 pm, providing coverage about Black Minnesota. Order his books at www.BeaconOnTheHill.com. Hear his readings and read his columns, blog, and solution papers for community planning and development, at www.TheMinneapolisStory.com. Columns are archived at www.theminneapolisstory.com/tocarchives.htm.
To read more stories by Ron Edwards click HERE