Former coach Tubby Smith has pointed words for Gophers administration
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Tubby Smith went 20-34 in the Big Ten in his final three seasons in Minnesota. Then-new athletics director Norwood Teague gave Smith the boot after an NCAA tournament first round win in March.
It seemed Smith's time in Minnesota had run its course, and many players regressed in his system. The firing, externally, seemed justified.
Smith, apparently, doesn't think so. In a Mac Engel column for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Smith gave an interview in which he claimed Minnesota simply was looking for a younger head coach.
From the column:
"For the first time in 22 years, you get fired for winning an NCAA tourney game - that's fine," Smith said. "They wanted a younger guy. That's what it was. I mean, they couldn't say that - it would have been a lawsuit waiting to happen. But it's fine."
He's right on one point: if Minnesota fired Smith simply to hire a younger coach, it would have an ageism lawsuit on its hands.
He's wrong, however, to indirectly assert that's the only reason he was run out of town. The judge likely would throw out the lawsuit when shown any of a dozen other reasons to show Smith the door.
Minnesota could just enter into evidence Ralph Sampson III's four-year progression under Smith. Or the decision to stick with Blake Hoffarber at point guard when Al Nolen got hurt. Or the players lining up at the door to transfer out of his system.