Tubby Smith won Minnesota's first NCAA Tournament game in 16 years, but it wasn't enough to convince athletic director Norwood Teague to keep him around: the former Kentucky coach has been fired after six seasons in charge at Minnesota.
Smith had four years left on his contract after signing a three-year extension in July. However, that extension capped a potential buyout at $2.5 million, which is what Smith will reportedly receive per ESPN.
The 61-year-old had won a national championship in his first year at Kentucky, but left in 2007 after failing to advance out of the second round of the NCAA Tournament two years in a row. He also had success at Minnesota, getting the team to three tournaments in six years after only one non-vacated appearance between 1991 and his hiring in 2007. But Teague, who took over as the school's new athletic director in June, seemingly has higher hopes for the Golden Gophers than a team that is consistently in the NCAA Tournament. Teague had hired Shaka Smart at VCU, and Smart is one of the first names in the mix to replace Smith.
Smith had arguably been in the midst of his most successful season with the Golden Gophers. After being runners-up in the NIT in 2012, Minnesota was 21-13 after a win over UCLA in their first NCAA Tournament game. Although the team's best player, Trevor Mbakwe, was a senior, its two leading scorers, Austin Hollins and Andre Hollins, each have time left in the program. The team's last tournament win was in 1997, and was later vacated due to various violations committed while Clem Haskins was the coach. After the Smith news, both coaches from the UCLA-Minnesota matchup have been fired.
Smith was 124-81 in his time in Minnesota, although just 46-62 in conference.