MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Legendary basketball coach Orlando "Tubby" Smith, who guided the University of Kentucky to the 1998 NCAA title, has been named the 18th head coach in the storied history of the University of Memphis basketball program.
Smith, who has a 557-276 career record at Tulsa, Georgia, Kentucky, Minnesota, and Texas Tech, is a three-time National Coach of the Year, and most recently The Sporting News National Coach of the Year and Big 12 Conference Coach of the Year in 2016. During a 10-year span between his tenures with three different programs (Tulsa, Georgia, and Kentucky), he advanced his team to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 or beyond eight times.
"A historic hire for the University of Memphis," said President M. David Rudd of Coach Tubby Smith. "He is the most accomplished coach the UofM has ever hired. For the University of Memphis and our basketball program, Tubby Smith is simply the right guy at the right time."
"Tubby Smith is one of the finest collegiate basketball coaches and is a man of tremendous character," said Memphis Athletics Director Tom Bowen. "Nationally, he is highly respected as a leader of young men and as a teacher of the game. I am honored that Coach Smith has agreed to become the next head men's basketball coach at the University of Memphis."
He has led teams to one National Championship, four NCAA Tournament Elite Eight appearances, nine NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 appearances, and 17 overall NCAA Tournament berths. He has coached 13 NBA draft picks and 22 former players have gone on to play in the NBA.
Last season, Texas Tech made the program's first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2004-05, finishing with a record of 19-16. For his efforts in turning around the program – which included a 9-9 mark in a strong Big 12 Conference – he was named the Big 12 Coach of the Year, in addition to being named The Sporting NewsNational Coach of the Year.
Smith's contract with the Tigers is worth $15.45 million over five years, including $2.8 million in 2016-17, $2.9 million in 2017-18, and $3.25 million in the final three years.
A native of Scotland, Maryland, Smith is the sixth of 17 children of Guffrie and Parthenia Smith. He and his wife, Donna, have three sons: G.G. Smith, who is the head coach at Loyola University in Maryland; Saul Smith, who spent last season as the video coordinator at Texas Tech; and Brian Smith, an Ole Miss graduate, who last season worked as a physical education teacher in Florida.
He is a 1973 graduate of High Point (N.C.) College, and was an all-conference performer as a senior, finishing his career as the seventh all-time leading scorer in program history. Smith, who earned his degree in health and physical education, was honored on Dec. 8, 2011, by his alma mater with a banner bearing his name that currently hangs from the rafters at the Millis Center.
- 18th head coach in Memphis men's basketball history
- Has a 557-276 career record
- His win total is the 61st-highest total in NCAA history, and 17th highest among active coaches.
- Has 91 career wins over nationally-ranked opponents, including 33 victories against top-10 teams.
- Is one of seven active head coaches with 500 or more wins and an NCAA title
- One of two coaches in NCAA history to lead five different teams to the NCAA Tournament
- Is 31-17 all-time in 18 appearances in the NCAA Tournament
- His 1997-98 Kentucky team won an NCAA Division I title
- Four NCAA Elite Eight appearances
- Nine NCAA Sweet 16 appearances
- Three-time National Coach of the Year (2003, 2005, 2016)
- Five-time NABC District Coach of the Year (1996, 1997, 1998, 2003, 2016)
- 2016 Big 12 Conference Coach of the Year
- 1998, 2003, and 2005 Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year
- 1994 and 1995 Missouri Valley Conference Coach of the Year
- Third-fastest coach in Kentucky history to accumulate 100 wins
- Six SEC regular-season titles (1998, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2005)
- Five SEC tournament titles (1998, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2004)
- Two Missouri Valley Conference regular-season titles (1994, 1995)
- Won an Olympic Gold Medal at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia
1979-86 VCU (assistant)
1986-89 South Carolina (assistant)
1989-91 Kentucky (assistant)
2013-16 Texas Tech