Thursday, March 29, 2007

Tubby Smith would recommend UK coaching job

Tubby Smith, the former coach at the University of Kentucky, said that he would recommend the coaching job to a colleague.
Although he willingly gave up coaching at Kentucky because he wanted to work where he felt “wanted,” Tubby Smith said Thursday that he would recommend his former job to a colleague.

“Sure,” he said. “You kidding me?” Smith acknowledged the pressures associated with leading college basketball’s winningest program and dealing with its famously demanding fans. But he noted that the job pays well and can attract a quality coach.

“Anytime a coach has made it to the level that Kentucky calls, they’re capable of handing it,” said Smith, who spoke to reporters after participating in a Final Four news conference sponsored by the National Association of Basketball Coaches. “There are a number of coaches who have proven they’re capable and ready.”

Many believe one such coach is Billy Donovan, whose Florida program will seek a second straight national championship here. Smith declined to talk specifically a about whether he’d recommend the job to Donovan, whom he called a “great friend.”

But Smith said that Donovan was “tough enough, smart enough” to handle any high-pressure college coaching job.

Smith averaged 26.3 victories in 10 seasons as Kentucky coach. He led the Wildcats to five Southeastern Conference regular-season championships, five SEC Tournament titles and the 1998 national championship.

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