Gophers basketball coach Tubby Smith’s contract extension is in the “11th hour” said new athletic director Norwood Teague on Monday, his official starting date at the University of Minnesota.
Teague, who has said his initial order of business is to spend “about 100 days” listening to staff, donors and constituents and evaluating the needs of the program, said the majority of the extension is complete, but the two sides are hammering out the details.
“I think it’s going really well,” he said. “What happens with these negotiations is you get the bulk done and then these little things hold you up and then you worry that they’re larger things – and they’re not.”
The impression that the extension for Smith – who is heading into his sixth year of the original seven-year deal – is right around the corner has been one Minnesota has been maintaining for over a year, when retiring AD Joel Maturi was vocal about extending Smith. The pending contract is one of the few issues Teague will give a definitive plan of action for as of yet, saying he doesn’t want to rush into decisions before thoroughly evaluating everything.
“I can’t assume too much right now,” he said. “I think when you make decisions too early – big decisions – you make mistakes. We’re all impatient, we all want to get there yesterday, but really my two initiatives right away are to evaluate and to listen.”