In 1997, then-Kentucky athletic director C.M. Newton needed a coach to succeed Rick Pitino at the helm of his school's legendary basketball program.
The Wildcats were coming off consecutive Final Fours, including the 1996 national title, so Newton decided the most important criteria would be pure coaching ability. He needed a proven coach to keep things rolling. He figured the other things – recruiting, program management, media and fan relations – while considered, would take care of themselves.
So he surveyed the country and hired Tubby Smith, a one-time UK assistant who had won big at Georgia and Tulsa.
“The hardest thing a coach has to do is coach players he did not recruit,” Newton said a few years back. “Tubby had shown an ability to go into Tulsa and not miss a beat. He went to Georgia and did the same thing. With the impatience of Kentucky people, I felt we could not afford toRead More »from Tubby's test