To this day, you could probably still get a good debate going among Georgia basketball fans about Tubby Smith and his decision to leave for Kentucky. There’s the emotional reaction of betrayal of course. Others coolly accept that Kentucky was a better job, and leaving made perfect business and career sense for Smith. Still others maintain that the Georgia administration should have showed more fight to keep a talented coach instead of resigning themselves to the inevitable. Tubby’s legacy on the court is remembered more or less fondly (UT-C loss aside), but his departure still rubs many Georgia fans the wrong way. He is, after all, the first football or basketball coach to leave Georgia for a “better” job in, well, many decades?
There would be one way for Tubby to get Georgia fans to come together on this issue: take the job at Georgia Tech. The St. Paul Pioneer Press reports that:
Word is Georgia Tech could be interested in Gophers men’s basketball coach Tubby Smith after this season, when Smith will no longer have a payback penalty in his contract if he were to leave.
Of course we’re still at the unsourced rumor stage of things, and Tech still has a coach. The future of Paul Hewitt surely isn’t stable though, so it’s not premature to start thinking about potential replacements. The tidbit about Smith’s lack of a buyout is significant since Georgia Tech faces a significant cost to forcing out Hewitt. If they’re going to take a hit on their own buyout, it would be nice not to face such an expense on the other side of the deal.
I don’t put much more than a something-to-watch value on this rumor now, but it certainly would be interesting to see Tubby return to the state – this time at the head of the state’s second-best hoops program.