The Minnesota coach was fired Monday after his Golden Gophers lost to Florida in the NCAA tournament’s round of 32. The No. 11 seed Gophers had upset sixth-seeded UCLA 83-63 in their tournament opener before bowing out to the No. 3 seed Gators on Sunday.
“Tubby has had a long and distinguished career and we feel it’s time for a fresh set of eyes for our student-athletes and our program in general,” Minnesota athletic director Norwood Teague said. “We are grateful to Tubby and his entire staff for their hard work and dedication to this university, our students and the entire Minnesota community.”
Smith, who won five SEC tournament championships and a national title during his time at Kentucky, spent the last six seasons with Minnesota, finishing with a record of 124-81.
“I want to thank the University of Minnesota and the people of Minnesota for giving me the opportunity to lead the Golden Gopher basketball program for six years,” he said in a statement. “Our staff did things the right way and will leave knowing that the program is in far better shape than when we arrived.”
It has been speculated that Teague, who served as athletic director at Virginia Commonwealth University before moving to Minnesota last April, may pursue VCU head coach Shaka Smart to fill the new coaching void. Smart has turned the Rams into one of the nation’s top mid-major programs, employing his signature “havoc” defensive style that powered VCU to a Final Four berth in 2011 and a No. 5 seed in this year’s tournament.
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