Minnesota fires Tubby Smith

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Minnesota fired veteran coach Tubby Smith on Monday, one day after the Golden Go­phers lost to Florida in the NCAA Tournament.

Minnesota coach Tubby Smith was fired Monday.  FILE/ASSOCIATED PRESS
FILE/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Minnesota coach Tubby Smith was fired Monday.

Athletics director Norwood Teague said it was time for a “fresh set of eyes” on the program.

Smith, a former Georgia coach, was 124-81 (.610) in six seasons at Minnesota, helping to bring the program back to respectability and ramping up expectations for a team hit hard by an academic cheating scandal.

Smith won 20 games five times and brought the school its first NCAA Tournament win since 1997 when the 11th-seeded Gophers beat UCLA last week.

But he went just 46-62 in Big Ten play and never finished higher than sixth in the conference.

“Our staff did things the right way and will leave knowing that the program is in far better shape than when we arrived,” Smith said in a statement provided by the school.

UCLA: Ben Howland kept it classy in departing as coach Monday, thanking the athletic director who had fired him a day earlier while noting the high expectations that come with running a program that owns a record 11 national titles.

Howland was applauded by supporters as he walked into a news conference at Pauley Pavilion for the last time. The 55-year-old expressed gratitude for his 10-year run in Westwood, the longest tenure since John Wooden retired in 1975 after 27 years on the sideline.

Howland said hewants to coach again, though he doesn’t know where or when that will happen.

NIT

PROVIDENCE 77, ROBERT MORRIS 68

In Providence, R.I., Vincent Council scored seven of his 12 points in the closing 5:21, including a key 3-point play off his only basket of the game, to lift Providence over Robert Morris in the second round of the NIT on Monday night. LaDontae Henton led the Friars (19-14) with 21 points.


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