Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Why Tubby Isn't Leaving

There has been speculation mostly started by the man they call "Sid Hartman" that Tubby is a huge candidate for other jobs and may leave the Gophers. I just don't see it happening and will try to explain why it makes no sense for him to do so.

Alabama Job:

The theory: Alabama boosters are so happy with the Nick Saban move that they will do that to basketball and throw loads and loads of money at Tubby Smith for him to turn around the basketball program. He will take the job because he loves money and he will be able to beat down Kentucky every year.

Why this won't happen: Alabama is currently 11-6 with a RPI of 121 and the biggest recruit coming in next year is three-star Shawn Kemp (yes one of the 30 descendants of that Shawn Kemp). The Gopher program is much farther along. People argue that he left Georgia after two years but the difference is that he left Georgia (which I am told still plays Division I basketball) to coach a national power in Kentucky which he lead to a national title the next year. He also will never be able to get the program to the level where they will always be able to beat Kentucky who has a hold on the SEC thanks to him. Also, it must be mentioned that one perceived reason for the lack of love at Kentucky was underlying racism, it is hard to believe that wouldn't be more of an issue at Alabama.

The main reason he won't go is that Alabama is a football school. If you were to ask Tide fans if they would rather have a SEC football title or a Final Four appearance most would choose the SEC title. Basketball can succeed at football schools like Florida, Texas and Ohio State but at all schools the football coach is the star and the basketball coach is second fiddle. Take Florida for example, Billy Donovan has two titles and went to the Final Four three times, Urban Meyer has two titles, Billy Donovan is respected but Urban Meyer is God. Here in Minnesota Tubby is the star. He sat in a suite behind the student section during football games and every game a Tubby chant was started, that won't happen at Alabama. He will be an afterthought.

Arizona Job:

The theory: Arizona is a national power that has more prestige and ability to win national titles. Old Minnesotans move to Arizona so Tubby will also.

Why this won't happen: Arizona was a national power, they are 11-7 with an RPI of 94 and are in shambles since the retirement of Lute Olson. They do not have a single commitment for 2009 or 2010 despite two seniors and the likely departure of Chase Budinger and Jordan Hill. Minnesota is in better shape to compete for titles than Arizona currently is. Certainly it wouldn't take that long to turn around Arizona but he has such a good start at Minnesota he wouldn't want someone else to get credit for his turnaround here.

The main reason he won't is because of the lesson he learned from the Kentucky job. He came in after revered Rick Pitino and even given his success wasn't beloved because he didn't have the same success as Pitino(even though that is debatable). It would be even worse at Arizona. At Kentucky he was taking over for just a good coach. Lute Olson is Arizona, the court is named after him, he was there for 24 years. He could never be as loved there as Lute Olson is. For example look at Indiana after Bobby Knight left. Mike Davis went 115-79, 4 NCAA appearances, and went to the national title game but he was let go after 6 years because he was not Bobby Knight. Going to Arizona would be a no win situation for Tubby.

Another reason he will not take any job is Saul Smith. Tubby would like it so that when he retires Saul is given the head coach job. If he walked into Maturi's office now he could get that deal where it would be harder if he went elsewhere. At Minnesota Tubby is a rock-star and will always be. This isn't football where the Gophers will never be able to compete year in and year out with Ohio State and Michigan. They can contend for the Big Ten title and Final Fours every year with Tubby at the helm. It does not make sense for him to fix another program this late in his career.

Quick Notes
Stats of the Day
  • 24: Straight appearances in the NCAA by Arizona likely to end this year. Lute Olson only missed the NCAA his first year as a coach at Arizona.
  • 3: NCAA appearances by Arizona before Lute Olson.
  • 10,711: Attendence at last home game for Alabama against LSU. Arena seats 15,043. 92,138 attended the last Alabama home football game against Auburn.

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