Thursday, March 22, 2007

NCAA Breaking: Tubby Smith to Minnesota
Who Takes Over at Kentucky?

Well, now THIS is an interesting way to lead into tonight's NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 games: Tubby Smith is out at Kentucky -- and in at Minnesota.

I'm sure Kentucky fans' heads are spinning giddily over the developments. Who would replace Tubby? Mark Few of Gonzaga? Not nearly "SEC" enough. Notre Dame's Mike Brey? Zzz. Marquette's Tom Crean? Wasn't he a hot name, like, four years ago?

Florida's Billy Donovan? Only in the same fantasy that has Ashley Judd being hired as my son's nanny... with benefits. Why would he leave Gainesville? Florida has eclipsed UK as a program.

Here's what Kentucky fans are going to find out: Their program isn't what it used to be -- one of the Top 5 college hoops coaching jobs in America. No longer.

Seriously, I'd call Pitino.


Bo Padgett said...

A few bad years does not a terrible program make, Kentucky is still one of the top five college coaching jobs there is and anyone who thinks otherwise is extremely out of touch.

Jayhawk 4 Life said...

Kentucky will never be eclipsed by Florida as a basketball school, what a load of homer hooey, never cease to amaze me.

Unknown said...

I dont think Kentucky in basketball has fallen off the map like Alabama in football. It would take a few mor eyears of mediocrity.

eric said...

Agreed. UK has about 50 more years of history than Florida does. Florida is definitely much hotter at the moment but that's about it.

I'm interested how this will impact UK's recruiting targets who have not committed yet, like Jai Lucas. Still hoping he goes to Maryland (where the coach will be around for about 15 more years, guaranteed).

jhawkjjm said...

It's really funny that all the Kentucky fans on the WWL are assuming that Donovan is going to leave Florida 3 minutes after their last game and move to Lexington. Why would he? Florida is and always will be a football school. He's golden there as there's very little pressure to win year after year.

The next few years will be even worse at Kentucky.

Andy said...

Here are my thoughts. Florida may not have passed Kentucky as far as coaching prestige, but it has caught up, along with any "major" conference school job. The parity in college basketball is so great these days that any good coach can go to any program and build it up. You see that with the Mid-Major teams and their success these past few years. You see that at Southern Miss. Larry Eustachy is a good basketball coach that made an idiotic mistake by partying with college students. But I'll bet next year Southern Miss is in the Dance because of Eustachy's coaching. I think any coaching job in the SEC, Big Ten, ACC, Big East, Big 12, Pac 10 are all equal. None of them are any better because a good coach can build any of them up. I'll bet you Tubby Smith has Minnesota in the NCAA Tourney next year and in the Sweet 16 within 3 years.

Natsfan74 said...

15 or so consecutive years of winning a first round tournament game means Kentucky is still a very relevant program. Think Kansas was looking forward to playing them last week?

JDM said...

To the poster are absolutely wrong about coaching prestige being equal at all the major conferences. You're going to tell me you'd just as soon coach Clemson as you would UNC or Duke? Or Northwestern (sorry Dan) as much as Indiana? It wasn't considered a step down for Bob Knight to go to Texas Tech? We all know it was, there is much more potential to build a winning program is greater than it has been in the past, but those programs are not and will never be as prestigous as the traditional basketball powers. Just like coaching Kentucky football will never, ever be as prestigous as being the heir to Rupp.

Natsfan74 said...

The problem with Kentucky is that it is one of only a handful of schools in the nation (Duke, New Mexico) that are a basketball school first. So while Donovan and Thad Matta and Steve Al... wait, oops... continue to win, their schools will always be football schools. That decreases the pressure on the basketball coach exponentially.

I'm sure we'll see Ron Zook fired again before we see Tubby Smith in the Elite 8 though.

Andy said...

JDM, Just look at the events of today. You have Tubby Smith leaving Kentucky, who some consider the pinnacle of college basketball coaching, leaves to coach Minnesota. You have Steve Alford leaving the Big Ten where he has been ok, to coach New Mexico.

In the past, you've had Matta leaving Xavier to go to Ohio State, which isn't considered a basketball power, and Xavier is at least a basketball first school in the Big East. Bill Self left Illinois for Kansas even though Illinois is a pretty good basketball school.

Coaches now do not want to coach in the shadow of someone else before them who was great. They see others like Dougherty(UNC), Lavin(UCLA), Davis(Indiana), and others fail after following a legend and they don't want to do that. It's too much pressure. THey would rather just coach where they can be successful without the pressure of living up to whoever came before them. I'll bet the same thing happens at Duke and UConn when Coach K and Calhoun retire. The successors will never be successful in the eyes of fans and boosters. THat is the unfortunate truth.

ToddTheJackass said...

Come on people, Dan's a shameless homer who has basically led the Instant.History.Revolution. in sports, of course he'll say things like that.

Still though, I'm in my twenties, only five or six years older than most of the kids who are getting recruited, and I will say that Kentucky doesn't have the pull that it used to.

futurelegendvinceyoung said...

Andy, I don't get what you are saying about Bill Self leaving Illinois for Kansas. Kansas is one of the top programs in the country. There are only a couple of schools you would leave Kansas for and Carolina is one of them.

TJ said...

Just as I could't imagine why WVU's coach would possibly have wanted to run to coach Bama football, I have to think there's no way Billy Donovan leaves UF for Kentucky. Right now, for Billy, UF is an infinitely better job. He's a god in Gainesville, and the pressure is off for at least another 5 years. At Kentucky there's pressure to make the elite 8 every year or else. There's no reason for Billy to make the leap.

Besides, I still think Donovan will stay in G'ville till the Miami Heat or NY Knicks job opens up. That said, I hope Kentucky hurries up and hires somebody, just to be sure.

kway34 said...

JDM, Just look at the events of today. You have Tubby Smith leaving Kentucky, who some consider the pinnacle of college basketball coaching, leaves to coach Minnesota. You have Steve Alford leaving the Big Ten where he has been ok, to coach New Mexico.

In the past, you've had Matta leaving Xavier to go to Ohio State, which isn't considered a basketball power, and Xavier is at least a basketball first school in the Big East. Bill Self left Illinois for Kansas even though Illinois is a pretty good basketball school.

Tubby and Alford were on the way out anyway...maybe not this year but neither fanbase was thrilled with those coaches and it was only a matter of time.

Don't kid yourself about Matta and Xavier, Oden, Conley and Co. were never going to a place like Xavier. OSU can and will throw more money at the program to build a winner than Xavier.

Anonymous said...

oh and speaking of coaches who are gone thank g-d the asshole is gone (uh joe scott)

top five college coaching jobs:
we should have a vote or a bracket

my view:
2: UNC
3: Indiana
4: Kansas
5:Duke? kentucky?

DP said...

See, Tubby was never a bad coach. Kentucky fans are just fucking crybabies. But I hate Kentucky so I am glad to see him get a better shot somewhere else.

Hank said...

The interesting thing about this is the media is going to blast Kentucky for chasing off Smith, saying that they will not get anyone better since UK is no longer a top 5 coaching position. But why isn't it a top 5 program...Tubby Smith.

The heroin sheik said...

The thing about UF eclipsing UK is not that we have eclipsed it as far as tradition goes. We will always be a football school and they will always be a basketball school. Where we have eclipsed them is on the court. We have beaten them six straight times. We are the first team to do this. That is pretty impressive. We have won three straight SEC championships. Clearly, UF is the dominant program in the SEC at the moment and we might continue to be until Donovan leaves town. Now if they win a few more championships and keep up this success for 20+ yrs maybe then we could say we have eclipsed them as a BBall school. Cmon all you need to know about UK and tradition is in the name of their arena.

The Rover said...

It sounds like that the UK fans got what they wanted, but the administration was caught off guard. (No wonder - Minnesota?)

I actually think they should go after Pitino. Donovan probably won't come - why leave for a conference rival? And a big state school would be a huge change for Crean and/or Wright.

They're probably going to end up with a mid-major coach, and the fans will be even more pissed.

Anonymous said...

Is Nick Saban available to make a comment about the Kentucky head coaching position?

Johnny b said...

You know what drives me crazy it's that Tubby went to Minnesota. I went to Penn State and I desperately want to have a good basketball program. We just always have a crappy coach who doesn't know what the hell he is doing. I just wish that we could do something like that sometime

pv845 said...

Could Jay Bilas be more biased against KU? For the love of all, there hasn't been a positive thing he could say against KU. He has talked all game about how they are getting this call and that call. I understand that you are from Duke where they get every homer call, but seriously.
BTW Dick Enberg is an idiot as well. 61-58 is a 3 point lead. Rush is 25, Jackson is 32. Not even close on either.

pv845 said...

Almost forgot, So Ill. went down Dan. How you feeling about that upset pick now?

Dan Shanoff said...

"Eclipsed" was the wrong word. Kentucky's historical status is unmatched. I sounded like a fool.

What I meant to say was that it's not like the Kentucky coaching job is all that special anymore.

Isn't it very possible that this UK job simply isn't as good as the rep?

Top 5 CBB coaching jobs? Hmm... GREAT question. I'll have that in a post tomorrow.

But everyone who said parity has devalued "top" college hoops coaching jobs is right on.

The recruiting advantage that comes with coaching at a place like Kentucky simply isn't as big as it seems on paper.

Remember: Kentucky's recruiting class of '04 was the top-ranked class in the nation. Florida's was judged average. Go figure.

Precourt said...

Thank You Dan, I was about to tell you I was done reading your blog, but you saved yourself with your comment. We all know you are a completely biased homer, but even your most devoted readers were spinning their heads on this one.

Matt T said...

No surprise Tubby is gone, he wasn't getting it done, and his National Title was "with Pitino's players" (not my words).

The program has gotten worse, Tubby went from going to final fours, to elite 8s to losing in the 2nd round.

The surprise is that he went to Minnesota. I would think he'd go to a more prestigious basketball school.

flubby said...

Dan, they can call Pitino and make him whatever pie-in-the-sky offer they want, but he will never go back to Lexington. Write. It. Down.

Ron said...

There's no way Kentucky even asks Pitino back. Now, there's another greasy Easterner who just might fit the bill, when the Paper Tigers finally lose out.