From "Fired" to "Coach of the year" in three years -- that's a pretty impressive recovery by Tubby Smith.

The Sporting News gave the ex-Gophers coach, fired from Minnesota by former athletic director Norwood Teague in March of 2013, their national honor this week -- just as Smith's former program was wobbling toward the end of the worst season in program history.

Mike DeCourcy's nice piece for the Sporting News on Smith and his rebirth at Texas Tech can be found here.

“They probably did me a favor," Smith is quoted as saying about Minnesota, "because I didn’t want to go in that direction that they were going.”

Smith, in his sixth season at Minnesota, had just led the Gophers to a victory in an NCAA tournament game, before losing in the second round, when Teague let him go. Smith said he wasn't sure what his next step would be, but he has landed on his feet in Lubbock, Texas.

Smith told DeCourcy that he loved Minnesota, and his quotes showed no lasting bitterness.

“It’s always tough when you have a change in administration. You have a new president, a new AD. Those things happen,” Smith said. “You show me a coach that’s had success and they’re leaving, it’s probably something like, ‘They want their people.' ”

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