Tubby Smith in talks with Tech to become next basketball head coach.
Texas Tech’s coaching search ramped up on Thursday as several university officials, according to multiple sources, met with former Minnesota coach Tubby Smith about the school’s open basketball coaching position.
Tech’s contact with Smith was first reported by ESPN.com.
Smith and his wife were in Lubbock on Thursday to meet with Tech officials and discuss the open position, sources told the Avalanche-Journal.
Smith, 61, was fired last week from Minnesota, one day after his team lost to Florida in the third round of the NCAA Tournament. The Gophers were 124-81 during his six seasons as the head coach.
Smith’s distinguished resume also includes a national championship in 1998 with Kentucky, a team he guided to 263-83 record and 10 NCAA Tournament appearances in 10 seasons.
Smith’s teams — he’s also coached at Tulsa and Georgia — have made 17 NCAA Tournament appearances in his 22 seasons as a head coach, including one stretch of 14 straight trips.
In his six seasons at Minnesota, Smith led the Gophers to three NCAA Tournament appearances and two NIT berths.
But he never finished above sixth in the Big Ten Conference — he was 46-62 in league play — leading Minnesota Athletic Director Norwood Teague on Monday to fire Smith.
“I feel it’s time for a fresh approach for our basketball program,” Teague told the Associated Press, “for our student athletes and the program in general.”
Smith told the Minneapolis Star Tribune shortly after his firing that he planned to coach again.
Sources also told the A-J that Tech this week reached out to Southern Miss coach Donnie Tyndall about the coaching position, but it was not immediately clear when or if the two sides planned to meet and discuss the opening.
Tyndall, in his first season at Southern Miss, led the Golden Eagles to one of their best regular seasons in school history. Southern Miss won 27 games, including a school-record 12 in Conference USA action. The Golden Eagles ended their season Wednesday with a loss to BYU in the NIT quarterfinals.
Before coaching at Southern Miss, Tyndall, 42, coached for six seasons at Morehead State and guided the school to two NCAA Tournament appearances in six seasons.
Tech’s search for a new head coach — a position that opened when Billy Gillispie resigned in September — reached the two-week mark Thursday.
The addition of Smith and Tyndall to the pool means as many as eight coaches have been contacted about the job, according to sources: Current interim coach Chris Walker, former Nebraska coach Doc Sadler, Oral Roberts coach Scott Sutton, Southern Illinois coach Barry Hinson, Indiana assistant Steve McClain and New Mexico State coach Marvin Menzies.