Texas Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt and chancellor Kent Hance met with Smith in North Carolina about the position. Thursday evening Smith was sighted touring Texas Tech’s athletic facility.
But it remains unknown if Smith has been offered the job or if he would take it. However, Smith could be ideal for the program seeking a resurgence. He made his name building Tulsa’s basketball program into a winner and revitalized a troubled Georgia program, too, before taking the Kentucky job and winning the 1998 national championship.
Smith was fired by Minnesota on Monday, the day after his team lost to the Florida Gators in the round of 32 of the NCAA tournament. He led the Golden Gophers to a 21-13 season, while going 8-19 in the Big Ten. For his career at Minnesota, Smith was 124-81 with three NCAA Tournament berths.
“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,” Minnesota athletic director Norwood Teague said in a statement released by the school. “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. We wish Tubby, Donna and the entire staff well.”
Texas Tech coach Billy Gillispie was forced to resign in September after allegations surfaced that he verbally abused players and repeatedly broke NCAA rules by exceeding limits on practice time. Chris Walker filled in as the interim coach for the Red Raiders leading them to a dismal 3-15 record in the Big 12 and 11-20 overall.
Smith is not the only candidate that the Red Raiders are considering. They are considering Oral Roberts’ Scott Sutton, Southern Illinois’ Barry Hinson, and New Mexico State’s Marvin Menzies to name a few.
The Red Raiders would ultimately love to land Smith, who could revitalize their struggling basketball program, which hasn’t been relevant since Bob Knight was coaching there from 2001-08.