Former Memphis head coach Tubby Smith is nearing a deal to return to his alma mater as head coach of the High Point Panthers, according to ESPN’s Jeff Goodman.
Tubby Smith on the verge of taking job at his alma mater, High Point, sources told ESPN. Will head to High Point Monday to finish the negotiations.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) March 25, 2018
Smith was coming off a two-year stint at Memphis where he went 40-26 overall and 21-19 in American Athletic Conference play. He was fired following this season.
But Smith’s resume is a lot longer than a failed stay at a school struggling to maintain relevance on the national stage. He has coached five different schools to the NCAA Tournament, including Kentucky, where he won the national championship in 1998. He also led the Wildcats to five SEC championships. From there, Smith went to Minnesota, where he took the Gophers to the NCAA Tournament three times. When the fanbase soured on him, he was off to Texas Tech — a program he turned around from a sub-.500 team when he arrived to an NCAA Tournament team in his final year.
Now, Smith will replace Scott Cherry at High Point, which has suffered back-to-back losing seasons. In nine seasons with the Panthers, Cherry’s clubs went 146-134, reaching the NIT and CIT twice each. The Panthers have never been to the NCAA Tournament at the Division I level.
Smith played at High Point from 1969-73, where he was an all-conference guard in his senior year.
One thing to watch as Smith takes over: Leading scorer and junior Andre Fox (15.7 points per game) was reportedly denied his request to transfer. We’ll see if he re-evaluates his decision or if Smith grants the request once his is fully on-board.