After losing Josh Pastner to Georgia Tech last week, Memphis has moved quickly to secure a new head coach basketball coach. According to Gary Parrish of CBS Sports, Tubby Smith has agreed in principle to become the next head coach of the Tigers.
Tubby Smith has reached an agreement in principle to be Memphis’ next coach, a source told @CBSSports. Formal announcement expected soon.
— Gary Parrish (@GaryParrishCBS) April 14, 2016
Smith has spent the last three seasons at Texas Tech, including winning Sporting News National Coach of the Year as the Red Raiders went 19-13 and went to the NCAA tournament this past season. He is one of just two coaches, along with Lon Kruger, to lead five different schools to the Big Dance, and he won a national title as Kentucky‘s head coach in 1998.
Smith is the latest notable name to take over a job in the American Athletic Conference, joining Mike Dunleavy at Tulsa and Johnny Dawkins at Central Florida in recent weeks. It’s definitely much easier to win in that conference compared to the Big 12, where Smith is coming from, and if money is equal Memphis looks like a better job than Texas Tech. Expectations are surely higher too, but Smith is not a stranger to heightened expectations.
Smith’s stock in the college basketball coaching market took a hit after his dismissal from Minnesota in 2013 — rightfully so for the most part — and Texas Tech was a safe landing spot for him to re-establish himself. He is highly unlikely to ever have a high profile job in a Power 5 conference again, but Smith is a good hire for Memphis as they look to rebound back toward relevance on a national scale.