Memphis hires Tubby Smith as basketball coach
Memphis is turning to Tubby Smith to get the Tigers back to the NCAA tournament, something the veteran coach already has done at five other schools.
Smith shares those goals. And he has plans for much more.
“The sky’s the limit for this program,” Smith said Thursday at his introductory news conference. “We want to take it to championship-caliber play.”
Memphis introduced Smith as the Tigers’ new coach less than a week after Georgia Tech hired away Josh Pastner. The move from the 38-year-old Pastner — who arrived at Memphis as a head coaching newcomer — to the 64-year-old Smith represents a major change from an experience standpoint.
Memphis lured Smith away from Texas Tech with a five-year contract for $15.45 million, including $2.8 million next season, $2.9 million for 2017-18 and $3.25 million each of the last three seasons.
Smith and Lon Kruger are the only two coaches to lead five different schools to the NCAA tournament. Smith most recently got there with Texas Tech, which went 19-13 and earned an NCAA bid this season in his third year on the job.
With a career record of 557-276, Smith won the national title with Kentucky in 1998. He also has worked at Tulsa, Georgia and Minnesota during a head coaching career that began in 1991.
Vanderbilt junior center Damian Jones is bypassing his final year of eligibility to enter the NBA draft. The 7-foot, 245 pound Jones was All-Southeastern Conference first-team as a sophomore and junior. He ranked 24th all-time scoring 1,313 points and is second in career blocks with 167. He ranked second with 1.69 blocks per game in his career, and Jones was third all-time shooting 56.6 percent for his career. ... Xavier gave coach Chris Mack got an extra year on his contract Thursday, extending the deal through the 2021-22 season. The Musketeers went 28-6 last season, were ranked No. 5 for the first time in history. Xavier is 162-77 under Mack and has reached the NCAA tournament six times in his seven seasons, including the Sweet 16 three times. ... South Dakota State has hired T.J. Otzelberger as its new men’s basketball coach.
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