Originally written on StraitPinkie.com  |  Last updated 11/6/14
When Rick Pitino left Kentucky for the NBA’s Boston Celtics, Orlando “Tubby” Smith was hired in his place for the 1997-98 season. In his first year, he lead the ‘Cats back to the NCAA Championship game and defeated the late Rick Majerus’ Utah Utes 78-69. The championship run included a comeback wins over Duke, Stanford, and Utah on the way to Kentucky’s 7th National Championship. Smith compiled 263-83 record with Kentucky, including 5 SEC Regular Season Championships, 5 SEC Tournament Championships, and 4 Elite Eight finishes in his 9 years after the ’98 season. After the championship season, Tubby never reached the Final Four again and that was sub-par in the standards of Kentucky basketball. The ‘Cats were a constant fixture in the 8/9 seed matchups for the NCAA Tournament, and were always bounced in the next round by the #1 seed. Tubby’s slower, defensive oriented style of play did not go over well with Kentucky fans who were used to a fast-tempo, and upbeat offensive attack. After the mediocrity in the tournament and in recruiting, Smith felt enough pressure to flee for Minnesota. In 2007, Smith boarded a plane to Minnesota and accepted the job as the university’s next head coach. He was promised a new practice facility, appreciation, and lower expectations with the Golden Gophers. The same kind of mediocrity and sub-par recruiting efforts are dooming the coach once again. After defeating UCLA in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, Minnesota moved on to take on SEC Regular-Season Champion Florida Gators. The #3 Gators hammered Tubby and the Gophers 78-64, ending their season and Tubby’s tenure. I’m not sure where Tubby Smith goes from here. He’s a great guy for any community, and a great ambassador for any program. My heart has always ached for Smith because of the way he had to leave Kentucky. However, he did have to leave. I didn’t agree with the “for sale” signs in his front yard, or calling him “10-loss Tubby”, but I agreed the program needed to go a new direction. At Minnesota, the athletics director said after firing Smith, the program needs a new set of eyes. First of all, Minnesota made a limited investment into Tubby. That new practice facility he was promised? Not a shovel in the ground yet, and that was 2007. The facilities are mediocre at best. The recruits that see their old gym they call “The Barn” don’t think of the history, they just see an old building. For an overrated job like Minnesota, the program may need a new set of eyes, and a brain too. Get back to me when Minnesota has a better coach than Tubby Smith. Here are some Twitter reactions:               It will be 15 years ago next week that Tubby Smith won the 1998 Championship, I think it’s about time he gets a banner in Rupp Arena. As for Minnesota, good job on firing the first coach to lead you to an NCAA Tournament win in 16 years.  

Report: No NFL team is moving to Los Angeles in 2015

Report: 49ers looking for young, offensive mind as next coach

Sheldon Richardson: I'm on the same level as JJ Watt

Kendrick Perkins: Rajon Rondo wanted out of Boston

Report: Jim Harbaugh being encouraged to take Michigan job

Three quarterbacks who could be traded this offseason


Wolves trade Corey Brewer to the Rockets

Yankees trade Prado to Marlins for Eovaldi in 5-player deal

Brandon Browner fined $8K for throwing Brandon Gibson to turf

Report: Sharper, NFLers called spiked drinks 'horny juice'

Rex Ryan: My wife could coach Tom Brady

Jim Harbaugh won in laser tag by 'hunting' 10-year-old kid

Grizzlies players buy new car for team intern

Peyton Siva jokes that Rick Pitino is in the mob

WATCH: Montrezl Harrell ejected for throwing punch

UNC wearing Jordan-era throwback uniforms

Brian Kelly: Justin Brent gets 'distracted,' is in my doghouse

Five free agent signings that should happen in 2015

Reporter asks Rajon Rondo awkward question about trade

Video: Swaggy P elbows Steven Adams in throat, gets ejected

Video: Grizzlies buy car for assistant who had his stolen

Video: LeBron takes pass to the face from Dion Waiters

New video of Ray Rice incident emerges

President Obama calls James Franco “James Flacco”

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

No NFL team in LA next season?

UNC rocking Jordan-era throwbacks

Reporter asks Rondo awkward question

Three quarterbacks who could be traded this offseason

Jon Lester and the Cubs

Report: NFL players used 'horny juice'

Top 10 worst NBA related commercials of all-time

Phelps gets probation for DUI

NFL coaches on hot seat in Week 16

The Roy Williams-Terrell Owens horse collar turns 10

Most underpaid NFL players in 2014

Gronk jokes about Brady compliment

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.