By Kali Terry
Head coach of Minnesota Men's basketball Tubby Smith was happy to finally complete his contract with University officials after wrapping up a 12-3 start in the Big 10, three wins more than the Gophers had all last season. Smith closed a seven-year contract with the University Tuesday, netting at least $1.75 million a year. "Certainly, we are happy to get everything finalized with our contract," said Smith. "The lawyers stretched out long enough, but we are happy to have it done." Head coach of Minnesota Men's basketball Tubby Smith was happy to finally complete his contract with University officials after wrapping up a 12-3 start in the Big 10, three wins more than the Gophers had all last season.
Right: Tubby Smith
Smith closed a seven-year contract with the University Tuesday, netting at least $1.75 million a year.
"Certainly, we are happy to get everything finalized with our contract," said Smith. "The lawyers stretched out long enough, but we are happy to have it done."
The U of M agreed to an incentive package worth $3.5 million contingent upon Smith meeting performance goals, which is basically a "the more you win, the more we spend" type of agreement.
The contract pays an additional $100K for a Big Ten tournament championship title, $250K for a Final Four appearance and the big bonus of 500K if Tub is wins a NCAA national title.
Tub is fine with that. Tubby is one of four active coaches in college basketball to take three programs to the "Sweet Sixteen." He knows how to create an atmosphere of success. Halfway through the season, he is looking for win 400 and sits fifth in the Big Ten. Not bad a start for switching conferences and seizing the reigns of club that finished 9-22 last season.
He also said that he is excited about the challenge of coaching in a tough Big Ten conference.
"A new challenge was the main reason for the move," Smith said on ESPN2's Mike and Mike morning show. "We all need to be challenged, and the Big Ten, it's as tough as there is of a conference in the country. This will give me a new life, a new start, and I am anxious, eager and excited about it."
The most apparent ingredient of Smith's regime to be seen so far is the young Gopher squad's willingness to buckle down on defense. They lead the Big Ten in steals and are second in block shots. The aggressive edge has progressed offensively as well, where the Gophers are scoring more than 75 points a game and are shooting a higher percentage from the field.
After ten seasons with the Wildcats at the University of Kentucky, Smith took over a dilapidated program, which was still struggling to find a successful system that players were willing to believe in since that of Clem Haskins in the mid '90s. Similar to coach Haskins, Smith is very good at extracting the talent out of mediocre players and turning them into tough, scrappy basketball players. The challenge, for Tubby, is keeping them consistent, something Dan Monson previously succumbed to.
Indiana Head coach Kelvin Sampson knows that he now has to work harder at his job since the arrival of Smith to the Big Ten. Sampson says he is not surprised at Smith's solid start. Sampson is quite aware that his good friend of thirty years has no problem finding a way to win. Tubby, in the market for his four hundredth win, hosted 15-1 Indiana Tuesday night on Minnesota's undefeated home court.
Anticipating the scoring attack of standout guard Eric Gordon, it was freshman Jordon Crawford who broke out early, nailing 4-out-a-5 three balls to push Indiana in front of Minnesota by eight. The Gophers respond defensively forcing a series of ball-pressured turnovers. Again, Crawford penetrates for a crafty layup. Tubby hops off his stool posted above the coaching pit on the elevated deck. His look is strong and intense, almost personal. No player wants to be the recipient of the look. Players begin to respond. Dan Coleman takes notice and slides into the lane for a bucket.
Halftime: 30-42 Indiana.
The onslaught of turnovers continues to pile for Indiana during the second half, explaining why the Golden Gophers are first in steals in the Big Ten. There is no reluctance