Gophers AD Teague has 'a short list' in mind to fill coaching vacancy
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota Gophers athletic director Norwood Teague said he has not had any conversations with potential candidates to replace outgoing men's basketball coach Tubby Smith, but already has several targets in mind.
"You always have a short list," Teague said Monday after during his news conference announcing the firing of Smith after six seasons with the team. "You always have people that you have in mind. Some are realistic. Some are unrealistic, but I have a list in mind. We'll work that and get a terrific coach."
Smith was fired one day after the Florida Gators knocked the Gophers out of the NCAA tournament Sunday night in Austin, Texas. Teague met with Smith earlier on Monday to inform him of his decision to part ways.
Teague said the process of finding a successor would be handled in house. No search firm will be hired, unlike how the Gophers handled the hiring of football coach Jerry Kill in 2010 under former AD Joel Maturi.
In the flurry of speculation that has surrounded the sudden coaching search, several notable names have popped, such as Virginia Commonwealth's Shaka Smart and former Minnesota Timberwolves coach and Gophers alum Flip Saunders. However, Teague was firm in establishing that he would not name anyone directly.
Smith's teams had perpetually underperformed in his six years at Minnesota, posting an overall record of 124-81 and failing to achieve a winning conference record.
The Gophers advanced to the NCAA tournament's Round of 32 this season for the first time since the program's 1997 Final Four run. But the tournament berth, which was the team's first in three years, came after the Gophers had stumbled to a 5-10 finish to the regular season.
Teague, who was firm and straight forward in handling a barrage of questioning for nearly 20 minutes, said the move to fire Smith had been an ongoing process.
"It's really a future decision," Teague said. "I didn't evaluate the NCAA tournament only. I didn't evaluate this year only. It's more a matter of evaluating where we are and where we are going. We want to build for the future and that's a huge part of what went into play here."