In the offseason, blurbs rapidly turn into buzz when they involve Gophers men's basketball coach Tubby Smith. Even if they start 1,000 miles away.
On Monday afternoon, a Fort Worth Star-Telegram report said Arkansas, which fired coach John Pelphrey on Sunday, had targeted Smith and was even "close" to hiring him, after a face-to-face meeting.
As he has in the past when rumors of his departure have started, Smith said all of the right things to calm the storm.
During his weekly radio show on WCCO Monday night, Smith said he plans to coach the Gophers next season.
"Yes, I do," he responded when asked if he expected to return in 2011-12.
He also said that's "it's just a matter of time" before he signs an extension, which he has discussed with the school for more than a year. Smith also said he feels "needed" by the Gophers, not just wanted. "I expect to be here," he said.
And within a few hours of Smith's statements, a SportsbyBrooks.com report said North Carolina State would soon fire Sidney Lowe. Among the school's preferred candidates for coach, who the website said could make as much $3 million per year, is Smith. So the rumors will continue to swirl. Again.
MYRON P. MEDCALF