OT: Minnesota Basketball Coach search not going well

Submitted by trueblueintexas on March 30th, 2013 at 10:41 PM
Looks like Minnesota did fire Tubby Smith without the replacement plan already in place. This makes the move even more puzzling. I'm pretty sure the Shaka Smart and Brad Stevens ships have sailed. As this ESPN article points out, looks like they are moving on to retread coaches. And at least one has already said no. Interesting to see where this ends up at this point. http://espn.go.com/mens-college-basketball/story/_/id/9115329/flip-saun…



March 30th, 2013 at 10:46 PM ^

If they fired Smith in anticipation of Smart or Stevens coming there, they are stupid. But I doubt they seriously thought they'd get either. Flip Saunders not accepting may be something they didn't foresee though


March 30th, 2013 at 10:55 PM ^

Well whoever the lucky fella is who gets the nod can sleep easy knowing that Minnesota will pull out all the PR stops to make him feel right at home......


March 30th, 2013 at 10:56 PM ^

That surprises me.  I though the AD would take a shot at Shaka since he knows him, then go to Flip and it would be over.  Too bad for the Gophers, I think Flip would have been good as a college coach.


March 30th, 2013 at 10:56 PM ^

I never understand why these mid-level major conference teams don't just shoot the moon and hire a starry-eyed 35 year old. But they seem to really like guys who were recently fired by a second rate nba team or a university higher on the food chain. At least UM has always been a step up (sept freedor), not a step back for coaches.


March 31st, 2013 at 5:54 PM ^

Sometimes retreads work out well--Bruce Webber at KSU being the most obvious/recent example.  Lavin at St. John's may as well.  It would also be true for  the suddenly "rehabilitated" Tommy Amaker (don't include me, please).  Tubby was himself a retread.  Ben Howland has a proven record and will end up somewhere very soon.

That said, I too would look mid-major and younger if possible:  Williams at Marquette (not sure Minny is an upgrade), McDermott at Creighton (contingent on Doug leaving for the NBA, and unlike Hoiberg, he wouldn't be leaving his alma mater), Steve Nagy at South Dakota State.  All three are familiar with and recruit the Minny area already. 

My darkhorse would be Cuonzo Martin--highly thought of, has done solid job rehabbing UTenn, and may want back in the Big Ten (and Painter ain't going anywhere).


March 31st, 2013 at 12:48 PM ^

...I'm sure he could do it there too.

What Amaker's done is convince the Harvard administration to relax academic standards for his recruits. He's getting four-stars the rest of his conference can't/won't pursue; he's got them playing at the level of Northwestern, more or less, and in the Ivy that's good enough for championships. (Pomeroy has Harvard at #105, better than Nebraska and Penn State, and NW after it was decimated, but far behind the other nine teams in the B1G.)

Turning Minnesota into Northwestern is not what they're after; their academic standards aren't the problem and relaxing them wouldn't help. There's no reason to think Amaker would be able to land the kids they're missing now.


March 30th, 2013 at 10:57 PM ^

It's freakin' cold up there! Kids don't want to travel that far away from home (given that the talent pool is not in MN, except for hockey).

Since the B1G is so strong every year, it's hard for the most talented teams to win the title. Tubby did a good job considering.


March 31st, 2013 at 12:25 PM ^

That's the easiest example to point at because it's absolutely unique. MN has never had two top-ten recruits in the same class and probably never will again.

But I think that's precisely what's triggered all of this. If Minnesota is ever going to put its program together based on in-state talent, now's the time. Look at the offer list of these kids and it's got to have set some alarm bells off: Minnesota, Ohio State, Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina...and he's apparently a Baylor lean.

Losing a top in-state recruit to Duke or Kansas or Kentucky, OK. Losing it to Baylor? Something had to change, and quickly, before that class is lost.


March 30th, 2013 at 10:59 PM ^

I was hoping Saunders would take the job.  I thought he was a pretty innovative offensive coach.  The Big Ten is a good conference in basketball, but it needs more offensive creativity and less clutching and grabbing.  



March 30th, 2013 at 11:03 PM ^

The Daily Gopher had a piece on their own wish list, which they broke into tiers. (LINK)

It is a couple days old, so Shaka Smart, Brad Stevens, and now Flip Saunders are off the list, but in any case, it includes John Pastner, (Memphis) Chris Mooney (Richmond) , Ben Jacobson (Northern Iowa) and one Gregg Marshall, who is likely too busy celebrating a trip to the Final Four to field a call from Norwood Teague just this moment. 


March 30th, 2013 at 11:17 PM ^

A lot of those guys don't seem very realistic.  Jacobson, Mooney and Musselman are probably the only ones who would consider it.   I would focus on Jacobson - he's from that part of the country and has a pretty solid track record.  He took UNI to the Sweet 16 a couple years ago.



March 30th, 2013 at 11:15 PM ^

This firing makes absolutely no sense if they were planning on firing him why did they wait till after the NCAA tournament n if that was going to affect the decision what exactly was goin to save his job a sweet 16 a final four? He was heading them in the right direction. Now ur stuck with no coach recruiting will soon take a hit n I think their athletic director put everything on Shaka. I have no idea how any hire they make at this point could b better then tubby


March 30th, 2013 at 11:20 PM ^

You're incorrect regarding Tubby.

His best players just graduated.

Players don't get better from year 1 to year 4 under Tubby, they never have even when he was at Kentucky.

Also, Tubby was never around during the offseason, and that was one of many reasons the Gophers have been unable to do the requisite fundraising to build a new basketball practice facility.

So naturally, people nationally have no idea of the facts on the ground up here in the Twin Cities. Tubby had no energy for this program, his recruiting has been poor, his player development and retention has been terrible, he has been phoning it in.


March 30th, 2013 at 11:40 PM ^

Are every coaching candidate worth a damn in the country. Because apparently they're missing this sleeping giant who has always been sleeping but is really a hotbed of recruiting because they lucked into a good year this year.

But hey, when you have a chance to get the Northern Iowa coach, you have to seize it.


March 30th, 2013 at 11:17 PM ^

It's actually kinda funny when Michigan hired coach Beilein n gophers hired tubby I thought they had made the better hire. Thank god I was wrong!


March 31st, 2013 at 12:15 AM ^

Iowa hired Todd Lickliter that same year.  There were some who wanted us to hire him.  He turned out to be such a disaster that his replacement (McCaffery) is already finishing up his third season.

Bill Martin didn't do the best job in the football coaching search, but he came up aces in the basketball one.




March 30th, 2013 at 11:28 PM ^

If you have no idea who you can get to replace him.

I'd say this is shocking....but half of us in the other thread knew it was going to be a struggle and they'd have to luck into someone for it to work.

(The other half wanted to tell us what a great job Minnesota is and how people would be fighting over the job).


March 31st, 2013 at 12:11 AM ^

I think it's hilarous how the most entertaining comments in this thread have the most downvotes.

Poor Minnesota can't play hard to get forever with her coaches!


March 31st, 2013 at 12:14 AM ^

I thought the firing decision was moronic when it happened. Do they not understand that unless there is some strange extenuating circumstance they already occupy the best position in the B1G they can realistically hope for long term? They should just try and un-fire Tubby

Mr. Yost

March 31st, 2013 at 11:37 AM ^

He and Howland seem like good fits.

Although I'm sure Howland wants the Gonzaga job if Few were to leave somewhere (and if Few didn't go to Stanford or UCLA, not sure he goes anywhere else).


March 31st, 2013 at 1:24 PM ^

Why would Marshall want to go to Minnesota?  They've got to be realistic.  

You can make a strong case that Marshall is the best mid-major coach in the country.  Smart and Stevens get more hype, but they inherited good programs from their predecessors.  Marshall was very successful at Winthrop and then turned a terrible Wichita State program into a power.  He's a guy that will probably only leave for an elite job.

As for Howland, I think he's damaged goods.  The SI article really made him look bad.  It makes for easy recruiting ammunition against him.