All day Monday the word leaked out, and it became official Monday night: Tubby Smith will be the new men’s basketball coach at Texas Tech.
While many in the local populace fixated on the fact that this means Smith found employment faster than the Gophers found a new employee, we are more interested in this strange twist:
This will mean that the man who replaced Tubby at his last job before Minnesota is now being replaced by Tubby in Smith’s first job after Minnesota.
After Smith escaped the volatility of Kentucky in 2007 in order to take the Minnesota job, he was replaced by Billy Gillispie. At the time, Gillispie was a hot coaching prospect, having guided Texas A&M to back-to-back NCAA tournament appearances, including a Sweet 16 berth the year the Wildcats lured him away.
Gillispie lasted just two seasons as Kentucky’s head coach, managing only a first-round NCAA tournament loss and an NIT appearance in his two seasons — far worse than Smith did there. He had a couple of years off and then took over the head job at Texas Tech, replacing Pat Knight, who had replaced his father, Bobby Knight.
In Gillispie’s one season at Texas Tech, 2011-12, the Red Raiders went 8-23. Citing health reasons, Gillispie resigned in September 2012. Interim coach Chris Walker went 11-20 this past season, including 3-15 in the Big 12, but it is more or less Smith set to take over for Gillispie in terms of a permanent coach.
That’s a similar situation to the one Smith inherited at Minnesota, where interim Jim Molinari picked up the pieces of the 2006-07 season after Dan Monson was fired early in the midst of a 9-22 year that featured three conference victories.
We’re not entirely sure how to make this coaching circle bring the Gophers a coach. John Calipari left Memphis to take the Kentucky job after Gillispie, and we’re pretty sure he’s not coming here. Josh Pastner got the Memphis job after Calipari, and he reportedly agreed to an extension recently. Either Pastner pulls a Steve Alford or Bobby Knight comes out of retirement?
That’s the best we can do.