Updated at 3:15 pm:
Apparently Eamonn Brennan of College Basketball Nation Blog hasn’t gotten the memo from the national talking heads yet. He thinks one of the best coaches of the last 20 years might actually be a realistic target for NC State:
Smith is clearly frustrated, and with good reason; 2010-11 is the second-straight promising Gophers season derailed by injuries and personnel woes, from Nolen to starting guard Devoe Joseph, who surprised Minnesota with a midseason transfer in January. But do his quotes say something larger about his desire to leave Minneapolis this offseason? There are always rumblings around Smith — he was one of many candidates rumored to be in the picture at Oregon last summer — and the impending job openings at Georgia Tech and NC State would seem tailor-made for him if he decided to leave.
What’s more, no less reliable a source than our own Doug Gottlieb is already hearing the rumor-mill murmurs about Smith’s potential departure:
The hottest chatter in coaching news is the speculation that Tubby Smith will be on the move this offseason. Three different head coaches told me the coaching fraternity is abuzz over whether Georgia Tech will buy out Paul Hewitt (reportedly in excess of $5 million dollars) and land Smith.
We have plenty of time to await that news. In the meantime, one thing is clear: Smith isn’t happy. The extent of that unhappiness — whether it’s reserved to this year’s team, or involves his program and situation at large — will be one of the more intriguing stories in what should be an otherwise quiet rumor mill this spring.
Monday Morning’s initial entry:
Below is the latest report on Tubby Smith’s status beyond this season at Minnesota. Smith has been discussed behind the scenes by the authors of Statefansnation as one of the top, realistic potential hires for NC State. He has previously been tied to Debbie Yow as a replacement for Gary Williams two years ago. Also, he and his family have strong reasons to get back to the south with family in Maryland, Virginia, and Florida. Tubby played college basketball at High Point University where he also met his wife. One of his first coaching jobs was a high school job in Hoke County, NC.
Finishing his career at Minnesota makes very little sense for his family(at least to us) and Minnesota is nowhere near building the practice facility that was promised to him when he took the job. The funding isn’t even close to in place yet. Smith turns 60 years old this year. He probably has 5-8 years left in his career and he needs to make the jump sooner rather than later as his age will become more of a factor in landing his last high-major opportunity.
One source has indicated that one of the openings he would be interested in going into the season was NC State.
Sources have told ESPN’s Doug Gottlieb that Tubby Smith will leave Minnesota after this season.
There’s some speculation over whether Georgia Tech will buy out the remainder of Paul Hewitt’s contract and land Smith.
The Gophers are 17-11 overall and 6-10 in the Big Ten.