Tubby’s Kentucky Legacy

Today is Tubby Smith’s 69th birthday. Most Kentucky fans remember the tenure of Tubby as head coach of the Wildcats. The fact that he was an assistant under Pitino is lesser known. For two years Pitino had Smith on his staff and in in the 1990-91 season Smith was promoted to Associate Coach and the team finished 9th in the AP poll going 22-6 while still on probation. That led to Tubby getting his first head coaching job at Tulsa and after four years there and another two years at Georgia, he was brought back to Lexington to replace his former mentor. Orlando “Tubby” Smith became the first African American Head Coach for Kentucky Basketball on May 12th 1997 and spent the next ten years going to the NCAA tournament every year and accumulating 263 wins (Third most wins by a coach at the time). Tubby coached 7 player who ended up getting drafted into the NBA (Nazr Mohammed, Scott Padgett, Jamaal Magloire, Tayshaun Prince, Keith Bogans, Rajon Rondo, Joe Crawford, and Jodie Meeks.). Between those 7 players there are 4 that have won an NBA Championship and 1 4-time all star (Rondo). After going 9-7 in the SEC his final two years the pressure became too much and he decided to accept a head coaching position at Minnesota. With all that he accomplished over his time here at Kentucky, the fact that the fans/adminstration pushed Tubby out to eventually get Billy Gillispie is atrocious.

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