Gophers Fire Tubby Smith, May Pursue Shaka Smart 26 Mar 13

Well, beating UCLA in the NCAA tournament doesn’t mean as much as it once did.

Minnesota fired coach Tubby Smith on Monday, one day after the Golden Gophers lost to Florida in the tournament after beating UCLA in the first round.

Smith went 124-81 in six seasons at Minnesota and won 20 games five times. But he went just 46-62 in Big Ten play and never finished higher than sixth in the conference.

“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,” 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 won 20 games his first season and took the team to the NCAA tournament the following year, but settled into a pattern of one year making the tournament, the next year not.

“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,” Smith said. “Our staff did things the right way and will leave knowing that the program is in far better shape than when we arrived.”

Teague came to Minnesota from Virginia Commonwealth, which is where Shaka Smart, rumored to be a candidate for the UCLA job, coaches. Will Minnesota steal Smart away from the Bruins?