Minnesota fired Tubby Smith today.
He surely deserved to be fired. As I detailed recently, he had terrible stretches—losing at least 9 of 15 games—in every one of his six seasons. In the last three seasons, when his program should have been coming together, he was even worse: he had 5-10 stretches in each season. Those stretches, when Tubby seemed to have no answers ("We just need to stop turning the ball over," he said over and over again this year, apparently unaware that this was something basketball coaches have to teach), surely doomed him. And deservedly so.
I can't decide whether I'm glad Tubby is gone. Before this season I declared that Minnesota would never be better than mediocre as long as Tubby was their coach. But the guy won an NCAA title and made several deep runs in the tournament with Kentucky. It was always possible that he'd put together one good year. Now, with him gone, I tend to think Minnesota will be praying for mediocrity. It's a real possibility that they'll be a second-division program for a generation. Having ruined the the reputations of two high quality coaches, Minnesota will now likely have to hire up-and-comers and hope for the best. Good luck with that. Who knows, maybe they've got a Dick Bennett or Bo Ryan toiling away at Minnesota-Duluth?