Monday, March 12, 2007

Coach Tubby Smith to stay

ESPN reported earlier that University of Kentucky Athletic Director Mitch Barnhardt has stated that men's basketball coach Orlanddo "Tubby" Smith is here to stay. What this means is that we could hear committments from Patrick Patterson and Jai Lucas much sooner than expected.
"Tubby's our basketball coach," athletic director Mitch Barnhart told The Associated Press on Monday. "He's done a great job of representing the platform of Kentucky basketball. We'll always look to make adjustments to the things we've got to do to get better. Tubby and I will do that collectively."

Amid weeks of speculation that Smith was on his way out, Barnhart stopped short of saying the coach would remain in charge of the Wildcats. The AD acknowledged, however, that fans had misinterpreted a statement by him as meaning a coaching change was near.

"They were reading way too much into that," Barnhart said, referring to the statement that urged fans to wait until the postseason before making judgments on the state of the team.

The Wildcats (21-11) are a No. 8 seed in the NCAA tournament for the second straight year. Kentucky plays Villanova in the first round on Friday.

Barnhart pointed to Smith's credentials and said the two would sit down at the end of the season to discuss changes. He declined to say whether any assistants might be replaced.

"His winning percentage is .700-plus," Barnhart said. "Since I've been here, we've won a couple conference championships, been to two Elite Eights, we've been the number one seed twice. We've had a couple years here that have been a little un-Kentuckylike, but I don't think that's a reason to panic or put ourselves in a position where we're not making objective calls in terms of the things we need to do to be better."

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