Update: Apparently it’s a moot point now: ESPN and the New York Daily News are reporting that Paul Hewitt has turned down St. John’s and is staying at Georgia Tech.
We don’t yet know what Paul Hewitt will decide regarding St. John’s, but the inevitable speculation has begun: If Hewitt leaves, then Tubby Smith must be the first choice to replace him — mustn’t he?
Two things to note about Tubby Smith: First, that of all the college basketball coaches I’ve known, he’s my favorite; second, that of all the Tubby rumors since he left Georgia for Kentucky in 1997, not one has been accurate. And there have been a bunch.
Tubby to Auburn this year. (Obviously didn’t happen, given that the Tigers just hired Tony Barbee from UTEP.) Tubby back to Georgia last year. Tubby to South Carolina a while back. (Almost happened but didn’t.) Tubby to the Atlanta Hawks on at least three different occasions. (Never got close.) Tubby to the Charlotte Bobcats. Tubby to Michigan in 2007.
Back to that last one: Tubby finally did leave Kentucky in 2007, but it wasn’t for Michigan. It was for Minnesota, and here, as I understand it, is the way that happened: Smith got so fed up with the lack of support from AD Mitch Barnhart that he called his agent and said, “See what’s out there.” The Gophers didn’t pursue Tubby. He pursued them. It happened so fast that there wasn’t even a Tubby-to-Minny rumor.
Speculation has long held that Tubby won’t stay in Minneapolis because it’s cold up there. Two things more: The man is 58, and he’s not apt to want to start over many more times before he retires, and I have it on good authority he can afford a house with central heating.
I don’t see him coming to Tech if the job comes open — and let me stress: It might not – and I can’t see the Jackets pursuing him if it does. He’s a a fine man and a great coach, but he is, as noted, 58. I would guess Dan Radakovich would prefer a younger man. Just my guess, you understand.