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Kentucky doing the right thing by putting Tubby Smith into Hall of Fame


While everyone may not agree, let me make it clear I am 100 percent in favor of Kentucky putting Tubby Smith into the UK Athletics Hall of Fame.

Smith led Kentucky to the 1998 national championship. At the time, the 35 victories during the 1997-98 title run were tied for the second most in a season in program history. He was a three-time National Coach of the Year (1998, 2003, 2005), as well as a three-time SEC Coach of the Year selection. He won five regular-season SEC championships and five SEC Tournament crowns.

In NCAA Tournament play, Smith went 23-9 with the Wildcats. Along with the national title, he guided UK to three additional Elite Eight appearances.

On top of that, he was a nice man who treated others fairly and with respect.

Did I always agree with him? No. Did he let recruiting slip at the end of his tenure? Yes. Was it best for him and UK to part ways when he left for Minnesota? Yes.

But there’s no reason for him not to be in the Hall of Fame and I applaud UK’s decision to include him in this year’s class along with former UK star Rex Chapman.

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  1. hawaiibillT

    Larry I wouldn’t have expected anything else of Kentucky.

  2. Toicat

    Right on, Larry.

    A lot of folks lose sight of what it takes to make a Final Four, let alone win a NCAA Championship. Ask Thad Matta, Brad Stevens, Mark Few, or Bob Huggins. Tubby’s style of coaching was defensive intensive, and that bothered a lot of Cat fans used to a faster paced game with higher scoring. Smith preached fundamentals and execution, which was very similar to Joe Hall’s coaching philosophy. But, those of us that made the trips to the Checkerdome in St. Louis in 1978, and to San Antonio in 1998, saw what great coaching can do for a team. Joe Hall found a “hole” in Duke’s zone and Jack Givins scored 41 points to beat Duke. Tubby Smith rallied his team from a 10-point half-time deficit to come back and beat Utah. Both were huge wins, and part of Kentucky’s great basketball history.

    Go Cat’s Go !

  3. David

    There is a strong argument to be made for UK to honor Tubby in this fasion. This is of course the first step in the process for Tubby to have jersey retired in his name.

    While I am not sure that the entire body of work warrants that distinction, Tubby most likely will have a banner in Rupp.

    While you can point to the 1998 title or the uninterupted trips to the NCAA Tournament, I believe Tubby’s greatest contribution is the manner in which he left UK.

    Tubby could have ripped the school–despite Smith being the one to resign–and burned bridges. As an African American he could have said that the expectations and criticism were more a product of racism than failing to return to the Final Four.

    I don’t believe race was an issue in Tubby leaving–although ignorance and prejudice are a part of all communities in American–north, south, east or west–Tubby could have used that issue to his advantage.

    Tubby Smith, though, was better than that. Smith demonstrated class by taking the high road and moving on before the heat or pressure grew worse.

    If Rick Pitino can keep his banner (a different conversation for a different time) then Tubby Smith should join the ranks of the proud in the near future as well.

  4. goUKats

    UK has been overly generous with one Orlando “Tubby”Smith.

  5. Theresa Crow

    Totally agree with all you have said, Larry!

  6. bthax

    Why not? He has always been supportive of the program and did not burn bridges when he left or since then. Coach Cal has been all about reaching out and reuniting the family, which has really paid dividends. This a great opportunity for the BBN to take the high ground set a great example of sportsmanship.

  7. Larry Pup

    I agree with you Larry V. He was a good coach, and a good man. He deserves this honor.

  8. King Ghidora

    He deserves the hall. We deserve to let it go at that. We suffered enough IMO. I don’t think he always treated people so well especially the fans. He made some comments he shouldn’t have made. But I think it’s a lot better time to be a UK fan now and the past is best left buried IMO.

  9. Jim

    Tubby won a championship. Sure he should be honored. Personally, I would have waited until he retired from coaching, before putting him in. Not sure why they couldn’t have waited. Then he could have been brought back during the season and not be affiliated with any other schools.

  10. UKFMLY

    I agree with you totally Larry. He is a very nice guy. I met him in front of the Hyatt after the Penn State Krispen game(we were checking out). Most of my 7 brothers and sisters were there and he stopped and took pictures and signed autographs. He love my UKFMLY license plate and that’s how we met. He actually walked up to us to ask who’s car it was. He said after games like that it was great to have fans like us. Totally made the weekend for my family. I also would love to see a banner up for him one day.



  11. Phillip Barker

    His championship year alone qualifies him…he did a masterful coaching job bringing home the NCAA trophy. He, his wife, and family were nothing short of a class act during his time at the university. Two thumbs up to you Tubby!

  12. Dee W.

    You (or someone posting under your name) has told some pretty vicious, outrageous lies about Tubby Smith on this site a number of times – the worst of which is the false allegation about him running a racist ad which never existed, and then posted a 7 second clip out of a 30 minute documentary claiming it was a TV ad Smith ran across the south attacking UK as racist when it was not.

  13. King Ghidora

    Don’t tell me what I know Dee. I saw the entire commercial and it was VERY clear that he was claiming racism resulted in him losing his job at UK. That was NOT from a documentary. It was from a commercial. I saw it. I love it when people think they can tell me what I have done and didn’t do. You don’t know me sir and where I come from you better have proof when you start saying I’m a liar. Again, I saw the entire commercial. I downloaded this clip when I had the chance. I did not get a chance to download the entire commercial.

    I never knowingly lie sir. But it’s easy to be a net coward and make accusations from long distance. Just what do you think his comment about being judged by the color of his skin referred to? Passing strangers on the streets who didn’t know he was UK’s coach? In fact he made the claim that he was hounded by racists in Ky many times. It’s too bad you can’t admit that. I can prove it if you like. But people like you never want proof. They would rather take cheap shots to try to bolster their point of view because they know facts are their enemy.

  14. King Ghidora

    You know I put up with the insinuations that I didn’t know what I was talking about once before on this issue. Any of you that think you know what I saw better than I do need to have your head examined. You don’t follow me around do you? You have a tape recorder inside my head? Just because the press never picked up on this doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. I defy you to show me where I’ve ever lied on this web site or any other. To openly call me a liar is beneath contempt. I’ll put my knowledge of the UK program up against yours ANY day. I know what I saw. I know none of you were there. So keep your snide remarks and accusations to yourself trolls.

  15. King Ghidora

    Dee this is the second time you have called me a liar. I would advise you not to do it again. You don’t know what I’m capable of doing. And that is not a physical threat in any way. How dare you call me a liar sir. What kind of coward hides behind a keyboard and acts that way? You obviously.

  16. King Ghidora

    I forgot to mention that the last time this came up a bunch of Minn. fans told me what a great coach Smith had been for them. Gee I wonder why they fired him?

  17. King Ghidora

    OK. I managed to dig up the source or close to it of where I got the information about that commercial. Some claimed it was about an interview program but others didn’t. The thing is I saw the commercial and it didn’t mention any interview program. And why would he ever be talking about being judged by his skin color right before he left town? If that isn’t fishy to the extreme I don’t know what could be. Did he say it just for the fun of it? He did it to imply UK fans were racists period and it doesn’t matter a whit if it was a promo for an interview show that strangely didn’t appear in Kentucky and strangely wasn’t mentioned in the commercial at all. I saw that commercial. I might be able to point you to the search engine where I found part of the original conversation but most likely it won’t work. It’s based on my user account at Google and they have never gotten it to work where links can be shared. I can point you to the search engine and give you the search terms and you will have to do what I did which is search through the many messages until you find the right ones. I still haven’t found the originals but I have found discussions on the commercial from late March, 2007. I didn’t make this stuff up. I saw the commercial. I know others that saw it. I know what the story was on the commercial at the time. Argue until you’re blue in the face. It won’t change what I saw. Why would he be talking about being judged by his race less than 2 weeks before he left UK? Why didn’t the program air in Kentucky if there was such a program? Why didn’t the commercial even mention the supposed program? Unlike you I have actual proof of what I say.

  18. King Ghidora

    Oh yeah. Just on the off chance it will work try this:


    It’s not the original but it certainly covers the subject matter and my reaction to it 6 years ago. No one ever convinced me that it was anything other than something Smith produced and you’ll notice that I said back then that there was no mention of any interview program. I don’t make this stuff up. You’ll have to sift through all the posts to find the relevant information but it’s there. Eventually I’ll find the original discussion of the commercial.

  19. Karen Sprinkle

    Yes, Kentucky is doing the right thing in adding Coach Smith to the Hall of Fame. Under his leadership, Kentucky won one of its championship, and IMO, was a rebound away from the Final Four and another possible championship with the Rondo/Sparks team and a turned ankle away from the Final Four with the Bogans team. He also greatly contributed to the community.

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