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Reader applauds Tubby Smith for taking “the high road” when he left Kentucky

Vaught’s note: This is a response that “David” made to a post I had applauding UK’s decision to put former coach Tubby Smith into the UK Hall of Fame. He makes points I am sure not everyone will agree with, but wanted to make sure you had a chance to see it.

This is from vaughtsviews.com reader David:

“There is a strong argument to be made for UK to honor Tubby in this fashion. 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 America — 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.”

Permanent link to this article: http://vaughtsviews.com/reader-applauds-tubby-smith-for-taking-the-high-road-when-he-left-kentucky/

13 comments

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  1. Hoffmeyer

    The first year Coach Smith was head coach at UK he had an application in at another ACC school. The Athletic Director at the time told me about it because I was a UK graduate. Never felt Coach Smith had the full effort or understanding of a UK BB fan or coach. That may be irrelevant to his being inducted into the HOF but doesn’t set well with my understanding.

  2. King Ghidora

    I would not say that Smith doesn’t deserve the UK HOF honor. But he most certainly did blame racism for the fact that he was pushed out at UK and he was pushed out.

    I really hate bringing this up again but it’s hard for me because the Smith years were hard for me. But Smith bought commercial time with his own money on tv stations around the south (prime UK recruiting country as well as SEC country) insinuating that he was pushed out by racists. I have a portion of the commercial he produced and paid to air. He talks about race. This was aired just a couple of weeks before he left UK. I think it’s important to point out the truth because I want things to get better and we will never heal this wound as long as the race card is played unfairly.

    Notice that Smith implies he was being judged by the color of his skin. I really wish I had the rest of the commercial because it was very clear what Smith was saying based on the entire commercial. But this segment is the key segment. He absolutely blames his losing the job at UK on racism. And this wasn’t the only time that Smith played the race card. He did it many times.

    I hate racism. I’ve suffered because of it myself. I’m part native American and my family always hid that fact which never set well with me. I have made sure I have never caused others to feel the same. My son is engaged to a beautiful African American woman who I love dearly. That’s how people should deal with each other. Not by implying racist views caused him to lose his job when in fact it was poor performance that caused it. If he was such a great coach what happened in Minn.?

  3. dan simon

    Since I’ve never felt the pain of racism- I can’t speak to it clearly but my opinion is that it doesn’t wash in the Smith case as he was here TEN YEARS- IMO there were a few “boneheads” that acted inapropriately regarding Saul and his playing status and that would have played a big part in Tubby’s exit(along with fan base’s restlessness concerning last 2 yrs) however the other side of the issue was his leaving and calling Mitch from Mn to advise he had taken the job and supposed not ever contacing former players. My sense- Tubby was always a “good” guy and good bench coach but when Felton left the recruiting went to hell in a hand basket and there was no one to pick up the slack- he won a title and I for one have no problem with him being honored and jersey retired.

  4. Jim

    This David guy’s opinion is just wrong. Tubby didn’t leave with class. He left like a thief in the night. He schemed for a new job, behind the scenes, and already had it lined up 6 months before he announced it.

    Yes, it was time for Tubby to leave, because he was not getting the job done in the recruiting and was coasting down hill on his championship season from year one.

    Tubby stayed too long. I believe he would have been fired the next year, had he stayed. Not only is this David character misguided, so was Dick Vitale, saying that the the fans ran Tubby off. Coaching ability or not, he was not pulling in the top player to get to final fours. The reality was that in Tubby’s later years, his teams just weren’t great. Good doesn’t cut it for storied programs. You have to get to final fours. Coasting off his first season after ten years was way long enough.

    If Tubby had informed the AD that he would be seeking a job elsewhere and for him to start looking for his replacement, then I would have said he left with class.

    Nothing wrong with honoring the former coach for winning a championship. But putting him up on a pedestal, like he is one of the greatest coaches ever is a bit much.

  5. Little Baron

    MANY THANKS to those of you who have not played PC and wrote the truth about TLT – ten loss tubby! No coach has ever taken such a Chpionship PROGRAM down so far – no FF’s for 10 years! He could not get players to stay – about 37 left the program under his poor coaching years.

    TLT has NEVER recruited a player who made it to the FF !!!

    TLT choked in his last game at UGA, when he did not have the gumption to call a timeout in the beginning of the game and fell behind something like 22-0, and it was too late to do anything then, so Coppin State upset UGA because of a coaching failure.

    How many times did we see TLT stand around and not say a word during a timeout because he must not have known what to say or do?

    Let’s not sugar- coat it. He ran out like a thief in the night (but it was great he left!). How is that classy? Low class maybe, but not classy.

    Pitino’s players floor- coached UK to a Title with Smith sitting on the sidelines trying to slow them down with hIs PLOW-plodding system.

    He had issues with Rondo and did not start him some games. Clueless is a kind word.

    I told a friend I was never going to look at this site again after the tubby-love was made so obnoxiously prominent. Today, I had to see if anyone would speak the truth and happy to see a few did.

    Remember not so long ago we were hoping to land a Top 100 recruit??? That’s how far tubby drove UK into the ground, followed by drinking Clyde. What a disgrace to heap praise upon someone who took UK to new depths. Just say nothing. I can let it go, if false praise is left out of the discussions.

    I noticed some of the best, most knowledgeable posters did not comment after the first article that put tubby on a Pedestal, and felt those who did not agree just said nothing. Glad to see some true atatements posted today.

    Need to hang a banner for coaching the ’98 team to a title? How about a picture of Shephard, Pasgett & the rest of the team, with a coat-tail hanging on to it, with tunny’s picture on the coat tail? Problem solved!

    No, it was not about race … other than some who feel that way about anyone or anything. I met Saul, a fine young man, who was so kind to a friend’s 13 year old son I took to a game after my close friend passes away at a young age. Saul was a fine young man. However, he never was PG for a major program and kept UK from landing top PG’a who knew tubby would never let anyone play ahead of his son.

  6. Larry Pup

    My! My!

  7. Beauford Scott

    I was glad to see Tubby inducted into our hall of fame. He was and is a class act. He is a very good coach. I don’t think Minnesota moved forward. He just was not the recruiter to succeed at UK…He is a positive part of UK’s legacy as the #1 basketball program and should be respected as such.

  8. Dee W.

    King Ghidora, king of trolls, there you go again with your outrageous falsehoods slandering Coach Tubby Smith. Tubby Smith never, ever, ran ads as you describe – you are completely making this up and you have no evidence to support these defamatory comments and accusations. No ads of this sort were ever produced nor ever ran, with his own money or otherwise. It was false the first time you posted this nonsense, and remains false no matter how many other times you post it. You should be embarrassed…the Smith years were “so hard for you” you have to literally make things up about why they were so hard for you.

    The 7 second clip which you make him out to say something he didn’t say is from this: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1363718/ – not a commercial he ran, and it was produced well before he left UK and featured other figures such as Bill Keightley.

    Now cut it out – once and for all. Your comments are pure defamation and outrageous.

  9. Dee W.

    Little Baron:

    You and the Tubby Haters have your revisionist, made-up history and recounts of things which never occurred – and the rest of us have the facts:
    ————————————————————————————-
    Tubby Smith record at Kentucky

    1997 – 1998 – 35-4 overall, 14-2 SEC, SEC regular season champions, SEC tournament Champions, NCAA Champions, SEC Coach of the Year

    1998 – 1999 – 28-9 overall, 11-5 SEC, SEC tournament Champions, NCAA Elite 8

    1999 – 2000 – 23-10 overall, 12-4 SEC, SEC regular season Champions (tied), NCAA Round of 32

    2000 – 2001 – 24-10 overall, 12-4 SEC, SEC regular season Champions (tied), SEC tournament Champions, NCAA Sweet 16

    2001 – 2002 – 22-10 overall, 10-6 SEC, NCAA Sweet 16

    2002 – 2003 – 32-4 overall, 16-0 SEC, SEC regular season Champions, SEC tournament Champions, Granted #1 seed NCAA tournament, NCAA Elite Eight, SEC Coach of the Year, Naismith National Coach of the Year, Henry Iba Award for best national coach of the year, AP National Coach of the Year, first team since 1952 to go undefeated through SEC conference play through both the regular season and tournament (and first and only to do so with 16 regular season games), new record set for highest attendance at a game at Rupp Arena during this season, largest margin of victory (62 points) over an opponent in a game since 1952, first college coach since 1975 to sweep all NCAA recognized national coach of the year honors in the same season

    2003 – 2004 – 27-5 overall, 13-3 SEC, SEC Tournament Champions, Granted #1 overall seed NCAA tournament, NCAA round of 32

    2004 – 2005 – 28-6 overall, 14-2 SEC, #1 recruiting class, SEC regular season Champions, SEC tournament runner-up, NCAA Elite Eight, SEC Coach of the Year, Jim Phelan National Coach of the Year, AP National Coach of the Year

    2005 – 2006 – 22-13 overall, 9-7 SEC, NCAA round of 32

    2006 – 2007 – 22-12 overall, 9-7 SEC, NCAA round of 32

    3rd longest serving Head Coach at UK (10 years – a decade)

    12 total years coaching at UK

    Great ambassador for the program

    Charitable work which continues to have a strong positive impact to this day
    Tayshaun Prince was recently on KSTV and talks a lot about the influence Coach Smith had on him as a player and a person starting at about 5:04 in the video below: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2J4wCBP4Vfc&list=UUSXKOGW6LvqCtvAKCOWJO0g#at=322

    He is more than worthy to have a banner honoring him in Rupp for all of his contributions, his longevity, and his strong record. If Tubby Smith isn’t worthy of a banner being hung in his honor with that kind of a history with the program, then no one is. Period.

    This is not leaving like a thief in the night: http://collegebasketball.rivals.com/content.asp?CID=655913

    How he was brought back just a year later for an honorary degree to loud applause: http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/sports/college/mensbasketball/2008-05-05-smith-kentucky_N.htm

  10. Dee W.

    To Little Baron:

    You and the Tubby Haters have your revisionist, made-up history and recounts of things which never occurred – and the rest of us have the facts:

    Tubby Smith record at Kentucky

    1997 – 1998 – 35-4 overall, 14-2 SEC, SEC regular season champions, SEC tournament Champions, NCAA Champions, SEC Coach of the Year

    1998 – 1999 – 28-9 overall, 11-5 SEC, SEC tournament Champions, NCAA Elite 8

    1999 – 2000 – 23-10 overall, 12-4 SEC, SEC regular season Champions (tied), NCAA Round of 32

    2000 – 2001 – 24-10 overall, 12-4 SEC, SEC regular season Champions (tied), SEC tournament Champions, NCAA Sweet 16

    2001 – 2002 – 22-10 overall, 10-6 SEC, NCAA Sweet 16

    2002 – 2003 – 32-4 overall, 16-0 SEC, SEC regular season Champions, SEC tournament Champions, Granted #1 seed NCAA tournament, NCAA Elite Eight, SEC Coach of the Year, Naismith National Coach of the Year, Henry Iba Award for best national coach of the year, AP National Coach of the Year, first team since 1952 to go undefeated through SEC conference play through both the regular season and tournament (and first and only to do so with 16 regular season games), new record set for highest attendance at a game at Rupp Arena during this season, largest margin of victory (62 points) over an opponent in a game since 1952, first college coach since 1975 to sweep all NCAA recognized national coach of the year honors in the same season

    2003 – 2004 – 27-5 overall, 13-3 SEC, SEC Tournament Champions, Granted #1 overall seed NCAA tournament, NCAA round of 32

    2004 – 2005 – 28-6 overall, 14-2 SEC, #1 recruiting class, SEC regular season Champions, SEC tournament runner-up, NCAA Elite Eight, SEC Coach of the Year, Jim Phelan National Coach of the Year, AP National Coach of the Year

    2005 – 2006 – 22-13 overall, 9-7 SEC, NCAA round of 32

    2006 – 2007 – 22-12 overall, 9-7 SEC, NCAA round of 32

    3rd longest serving Head Coach at UK (10 years – a decade)

    12 total years coaching at UK

    Great ambassador for the program

    Charitable work which continues to have a strong positive impact to this day
    Tayshaun Prince was recently on KSTV and talks a lot about the influence Coach Smith had on him as a player and a person starting at about 5:04 in the video below: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2J4wCBP4Vfc&list=UUSXKOGW6LvqCtvAKCOWJO0g#at=322

    He is more than worthy to have a banner honoring him in Rupp for all of his contributions, his longevity, and his strong record. If Tubby Smith isn’t worthy of a banner being hung in his honor with that kind of a history with the program, then no one is. Period.

    This is not leaving like a thief in the night: http://collegebasketball.rivals.com/content.asp?CID=655913

    How he was brought back just a year later for an honorary degree to loud applause: http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/sports/college/mensbasketball/2008-05-05-smith-kentucky_N.htm

  11. Jim

    Tubby starting his son at PG was the beginning of the decline of the program that Pitino resurrected. Adolph Rupp put his son on his teams, but he was a bench player. Smith could not get an elite PG, after he put his son on the team and showed favoritism. Allen Houston is the only kid I can recall that was a wothy D1 PG that was a coach’s son. Saul was a good player. But, he never should have been the starting PG. He should have been a bench player. That is where Tubby made his biggest mistake.

  12. Dee W.

    Jim, that would make sense but for the fact it isn’t at all true, since some of the strongest seasons the program had under Tubby Smith, including some of the strongest seasons in the program’s history, occurred after Saul Smith was gone.

  13. Jim

    My statement is true. He never got the elite PGs after that except for Rondo. He flat out got lucky to get Rondo, because Pitino was dumb and believed Telfair was better than him. UK was plan B for Rondo.

    You can howl all you want about how great a person a guy is. What matters is performance. Performance at Kentucky is measured in Final Fours. Tubby couldn’t get back there because he failed to get it done in the recruiting department.

    If Tubby is such a great coach and did such a great job for the Gophers, why was he fired? I will tell you why. He can’t recruit the elite players.

    How long will he last at his new school in Texas? He can probably coach for ten more years, if all the school cares about is fooball.

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