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Updated: March 21st, 2012 10:08pm
Tubby Smith linked to Tulsa, South Carolina jobs but says he's staying

Tubby Smith linked to Tulsa, South Carolina jobs but says he's staying

by Tom Pelissero
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It's mid-March, and that means Gophers men's basketball coach Tubby Smith is being mentioned as a candidate for other jobs.

Two rumors surfaced on Wednesday -- one linking Smith to Tulsa and the other linking him to South Carolina.

Smith shot down both reports after the Gophers' National Invitation Tournament win at Middle Tennessee, saying simply, "I'm a candidate for Minnesota. That's it. It's good to hear that sometimes, but it doesn't help with your recruiting and things like that."

It's no surprise Smith's name has come up. Last year, he was mentioned prominently in connection with openings at Arkansas, North Carolina State and Missouri but ended up staying put.

Smith, 60, began his head coaching career at Tulsa, where he compiled a 79-43 record and two NCAA Sweet Sixteen appearances in four seasons. A national writer posted on Twitter that Tulsa is pursuing Smith again but qualified the report as just rumor.

Another report cited two sources as saying Smith is "in the mix" for the South Carolina job and there has been contact between the university and Smith's agent, Ricky Lefft, who is an assistant professor in USC's Department of Sport and Entertainment Management.

Tom Pelissero is Senior Editor and columnist for He hosts from 6 to 8 p.m. weeknights and co-hosts from 10 a.m. to noon Sundays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
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