For the past several weeks, rumors have circulated about the impending availability of former Georgia and current Minnesota basketball coach Tubby Smith and how he might return to the area and take over at Georgia Tech.
I’ve ignored these rumors for two reasons: 1) I don’t think there’s any chance it will happen; 2) It doesn’t make sense to me — to say nothing of the fact it’s in poor taste and unprofessional — to write about potential candidates for a job that isn’t yet open. The fact Paul Hewitt appears to be in trouble at Tech is besides the point.
But now I’ll address the Smith rumor only because he has addressed it himself: It ain’t happening.
Here’s an excerpt from Sid Hartman’s column in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune:
And Smith rejected the ESPN rumor that Georgia Tech was going to buy out coach Paul Hewitt’s contract and hire Smith by saying: “Why would I be interested in that job? I’m not going anywhere. My wife likes it here, I like it here, and I’m going to finish my career here.”
That’s as emphatic as it gets. Surprising? Maybe the part about Smith and his wife not wanting to leave Minnesota. Many have speculated that Smith, after four years in the Midwest chill, wants to get back to a warmer climate.
Back to Hewitt. As I addressed Sunday, while there are strong indications that he may have coached his final game on campus, it’s unfortunate the degree of vitriol that some fans are showing toward a coach who has been nothing but dedicated and earnest during his tenure.
Can the man be arrogant and often have a chip on his shoulder when it comes to criticism? Abs0lutely. But that hardly puts him in unique company among high profile Division I basketball coaches.
If athletic director Dan Radakovich decides to make a change, it will come fairly quickly after the Jackets are eliminated in the ACC tournament. (Obviously if they go on an improbable run in Greensboro, all bets are off.) If it’s the former, there will be plenty of time to speculate on the next coach.
Until then, you can stop talking about Tubby.
By Jeff Schultz