Tubby Smith has over 550 wins in his 25-year coaching career and brought five different schools to the NCAA Tournament. He has a chance to make it his sixth now that he's been hired by the University of Memphis.
He will replace Josh Pastner who took the Georgia Tech job. The Tigers have not made the NCAA Tournament since 2014 and had a top-15 recruiting last year, but hadn't broke the top 40 in the previous two years. Tubby Smith brings a lot of good things to Memphis and here are the five best things about the hire for both Memphis and Smith.
1. It is much easier to win in the AAC than it is the Big 12
Tubby Smith was named National Coach of the Year for going 9-9 in the conference and 19-13 overall last season. Imagine what he could do in a much smaller AAC where the competition is not nearly as tough. If his same Texas Tech squad played in the AAC he could have conceivably led them to a conference title and above-.500 record.
2. He should own the recruiting trail
He has recruited in all kinds of circumstances having gotten talent to go to Kentucky as well as Minnesota so he knows what it's like to have tons of resources and almost no resources. Memphis is probably somewhere in the middle in that regard and Smith will really only be competing with SMU and UConn.
3. The Tigers have a much more mature coach
Memphis and its fans had a few issues with Pastner in that he was a good recruiter, but really not a great coach. He didn't get his talent to play up to its full potential and there was the whole debacle with the Austin Nichols transfer. Smith has been around the block and knows how to not only handle fan expectations, but the school's as well.
4. Smith can adapt to the game better than a lot of coaches
Each conference tends to have a different style of play --- the SEC tends to run more while the Big Ten likes to pound the ball for low-scoring games --- and Smith has seen just about all of them. He can gameplan well and can have his team play different styles of basketball that are conducive to winning games.
5. He's not afraid of the spotlight
Tubby Smith won a national title at Kentucky in 1998 and has been heavily scrutinized since then. He knows that the spotlight will be back on him and with 25 years of head coaching experience he is not going to become a shrinking violet. If anything, he will take in the light and hopefully grow this program to heights it hasn't seen since the John Calipari era --- you know, without the vacating wins part.