Gophers basketball coach Tubby Smith will get his long-awaited contract extension, the University of Minnesota announced on Monday, ending more than a year of speculation.
The 21-year head coaching veteran, who had two years left on his current contract, will get a three-year extension through the 2016-17 season. Terms of the extension were not immediately known.
“We are excited about the extension and know that the University of Minnesota is the right place for us,” Smith said in a statement. “I am focused on reaching our full potential as a program. That is why we came here five years ago and it is still our goal.”
The Gophers went 6-12 in the Big Ten last season, but finished with 23 victories after getting to the championship game of the NIT. Smith hasn’t won an NCAA tournament game in his five-year tenure with the Gophers, who were knocked out in the first round in 2009 and 2010.
Talk of an extension has been lingering since the end of the 2010-11 season, when both the university and Smith hinted it was imminent. When new athletic director Norwood Teague took over for Joel Maturi in June, the extension was again on the table but had to be re-negotiated. Teague said the two sides were just hammering out the details.
“Tubby took over our program at a difficult time and quickly got it headed back in the right direction,” Teague said in a statement. “Since then, Gopher basketball has continued to make strides under his leadership with four postseason appearances, including last year’s exciting run to the NIT tile game. I look forward to working with Coach Smith into the future to help lift Gopher basketball to even greater heights.”
Marcus Fuller joined the Star Tribune in 2016 after 11 years covering Gophers sports – and just about every other team and league in town -- for the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Before making the Twin Cities his home, Marcus spent two years in The Kansas City Star sports department. Marcus grew up in Hawaii and is a 2002 graduate of San Jose State. Follow Fuller on Twitter @Marcus_R_Fuller.