Minnesota athletic director Norwood Teague called the firing of basketball coach Tubby Smith, "a future decision." At a news conference late Monday afternoon, Teague said it was not a matter of only evaluating the NCAA tournament or just this year, "it's more a matter of evauating where we are and where we're going."
After leaving Kentucky, Smith coahced the Golden Gophers for six seasons, winning 20 games five times. His overall record 124-81, 46-62 in the Big Ten. Smith's teams made three NCAA appearances but Minnesota did not win an NCAA game until last week.
"Tubby Smith has had a long and distinguished career as a college basketball coach. Hes affected a number of lives positively throughout his career and most of all he is an outstanding, outstaning human being. However I feel it's time for a fresh approach for our basketball program, for our student-athletes and our program in general," 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."
Teague told Smith the decision earlier in the day. "I'll tell you what, he was very gracious. I could see the disappointment in his eyes and that's hard to tell Tubby. He's a great human being and I don't think he was totally surprised but he was very gracious and that did not surprise me because of the way that he conducts himself and the person that he is."
Smith reportedly will receive a $2.5 million dollar buyout. He received a contract extension shortly after Teague was hired. Teague said he doesn't like buyouts. "But I hope that our fans will look at this one as an investment, rather than an expenditure."
Teague said a search firm will not be hired to reccomend a new coach. He said he was confident he and his senior staff would be able to find a replacement.