Tubby Smith, Donna Smith

Coach Tubby Smith, who was coaching Minnesota, with his wife, Donna, during halftime of a Wake Forest-High Point game on Dec. 7, 2011. Smith was inducted into the school's Athletics Hall of Fame in 2016.

Chuck Burton

Updates at 4:18 p.m. with fuller version:

HIGH POINT — Tubby Smith, who coached Kentucky to the 1998 NCAA championship, is expected to be introduced as the new basketball coach at his alma mater, High Point University, at a news conference at 11 a.m. Tuesday.

Smith has been identified as the choice in media reports that surfaced Sunday, first reported by ESPN analyst Jeff Goodman.

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Wichita St Memphis Basketball

Memphis coach Tubby Smith talks to players during a timeout in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Wichita State on Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2018, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Brandon Dill)

Smith, 66, was fired as Memphis’ head coach March 14 after his Tigers teams went 40-26 in two years, including 21-13 this season. He was replaced by former Memphis star and prominent AAU coach Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway.

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Wichita St Memphis Basketball

Tubby Smith coaching for Memphis during a game against Wichita State on Feb. 6.

In 27 seasons as an NCAA Division I head coach, Smith's teams compiled a 597-302 record and made the NCAA tournament 18 times. His teams have reached nine Sweet Sixteens and four Elite Eights.

Smith has coached Tulsa, Georgia, Kentucky, Minnesota and Texas Tech to the NCAA Tournament. Most of the players on this year’s Texas Tech team that reached the Elite Eight were Smith recruits.

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AAC Memphis Cincinnati Basketball

Memphis coach Tubby Smith with Kareem Brewton during a game against Cincinnati March 10 in the American Athletic Conference tournament.

Smith played guard for High Point from 1969 to '73, earning all-conference honors as a senior and finishing with 1,589 points. A banner with his image — dribbling left-handed, wearing jersey No. 41 — hangs in the Millis Center.

“It’s the body of work. It’s the journey,” Smith said the night in 2011 when the banner was unveiled. “… You want to give back as much as you can to your alma mater. They helped me reach my goals and dreams of getting a college education, and playing and coaching a game I love.

“I wasn’t an All-American. Wasn’t a leading scorer. Wasn’t leading anything. But thank goodness I met my wife (Donna) here.”

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SHEPPARD SMITH MAGGLIORE MASIELLO

Coach Tubby Smith gets a ride off the court from his Kentucky players after they won the 1998 NCAA Tournament championship.

Since moving up to Division I 19 years ago, High Point has never reached the NCAA Tournament.

Smith replaces Scott Cherry, whose teams went 146-134 the last nine seasons, with two NIT and two CIT postseason appearances while star forward John Brown played for the Panthers.

High Point plays in the Big South, a one-bid league that sends only its automatic-qualifying conference tournament champion to the NCAA tourney.

The league has never received an at-large berth. Cherry’s two NIT teams won regular-season titles but lost in the conference tournaments.

Smith has a reputation as a winner (only two of his teams have finished under .500) and as a coach who will speak his mind.

After Memphis was eliminated from the American Athletic Conference tournament March 4, he was asked about “an exodus” of players.

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TUBBY SMITH

Kentucky coach Tubby Smith with the NCAA basketball championship trophy in March 1998.

His answer was candid:

“Kids have a lot of options nowadays. ... There were 800 Division I players transferred last year. Over 800. Come on. We’re teaching them how to quit. That’s what we’re doing. Things not going well? Let’s quit.

“I remember calling my dad when I was a freshman at High Point College. ‘Dad, people not treating me well, this and that, I’m not happy here ...’ There wasn't but two blacks in the whole school. Dad said, ‘Son, somebody do something to you? You still getting your scholarship, aren't you? They’re still feeding you? They still housing you? You still getting an education?’

“I said, ‘Yes sir.’

“He said, ‘Well, you can’t come home. Your bed’s been taken. ... But you can join the Army.’

“Best thing he ever said to me. So that’s who I am.”


HIGH POINT — Tubby Smith, who coached Kentucky to the 1998 NCAA championship, is expected to be introduced as the new basketball coach at his alma mater, High Point University, at a news conference at 11 a.m. Tuesday.

Smith has been identified as the choice in media reports that surfaced Sunday, first reported by ESPN analyst Jeff Goodman.

Smith, 66, was fired as Memphis’ head coach March 14 after his Tigers teams went 40-26 in two seasons, including 21-13 this season.

In 27 seasons as an NCAA Division I head coach, Smith has compiled a 597-302 record and led teams to the NCAA tournament 18 times. He has reached nine Sweet Sixteens and four Elite Eights.

Smith has coached Tulsa, Georgia, Kentucky, Minnesota and Texas Tech to the NCAA Tournament. Most of the players on this year’s Texas Tech team that reached the Elite Eight were Smith recruits.

Smith was a guard for High Point from 1969 to '73, and a banner with his image hangs in the Millis Center.

Since moving up to Division I 19 years ago, High Point has never reached the NCAA Tournament.

Smith replaces Scott Cherry, whose teams went 146-134 in the last nine seasons, with two NIT and two CIT postseason appearances while star forward John Brown played for the Panthers.

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Contact Jeff Mills at (336) 373-7024, and follow @JeffMillsNR on Twitter.

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