Blog: Tubby Smith to Be Honored at Alma Mater

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Golden Gopher Head Coach Tubby Smith will be heading out of town following his team's matchup with Appalachian State for a special evening at his alma mater, High Point University in North Carolina.

Coach Smith will be honored Wednesday evening when the Panthers take on Wake Forest in what will be "Tubby Smith Night".

Gophersports.com hopes to secure video and photos of the event.

Congratulations Coach Smith!

The release below is courtesy of High Point University's Communications Director Jon Litchfield. 

High Point University will honor 1973 alum Orlando "Tubby" Smith during halftime of the HPU men's basketball team's game against Wake Forest on Wednesday night at the Millis Center. Smith scored 1,589 points during his four seasons at HPU and went on to become a national champion head coach.

Wednesday's game has been designated "Tubby Smith Night" and High Point University will unveil a banner in his honor at halftime. It will be the first time HPU has ever hosted an ACC opponent in men's basketball.

Smith played at High Point University from 1969-73, playing under coach J.D. Barnett his junior year and Jerry Steele his senior year. Barnett later became head coach at Virginia Commonwealth University and hired Smith as his assistant coach, giving Smith his first collegiate coaching job.

An honorable mention high school All-American out of Great Mills in Maryland, Smith made an immediate impact for the Panthers, averaging 13.3 points and 5.2 rebounds his freshman year. He began his sophomore year after having surgery on his wrist during the offseason, but still managed 12.6 points per game.

Smith was one of HPU's top scoring threats his junior and senior seasons, averaging 16.4 points on 45.9 percent shooting in 1971-72 and averaging 17.3 points 49.2 percent shooting along with 5.2 rebounds in 1972-73.

Along with his well-known basketball exploits, Smith was an outstanding sprinter for High Point's track & field team and helped HPU to three conference championships. He was a member of HPU's record-setting 440-yard relay team.

Smith went on to become one of the top college basketball coaches in the nation with head coaching stops at Tulsa (1991-95), Georgia (1995-97) and Kentucky (1997-2007) before being named the University of Minnesota's head coach in 2007.

In his first four seasons at Minnesota, Smith's teams won 80 games - the most of any coach's first four years in the history of Minnesota basketball. Smith's wins at Minnesota include five over top-10 teams, the Gophers' first-ever trip to the Big Ten championship game and consecutive 20-win seasons for the first time in program history. Minnesota is 8-1 this season, most recently getting wins over Virginia Tech and Southern California.

Smith spent 10 highly-successful seasons at Kentucky, leading the Wildcats to the 1998 NCAA Championship, four Elite Eight appearances, six Sweet Sixteen appearances, five SEC regular season titles and five SEC tournament titles. His teams went 263-83, averaging over 26 wins per year.

Smith was named National Coach of the Year and SEC Coach of the Year in 1998, 2003 and 2005. He has sent 19 players to the NBA during his coaching career.

With the honor, Smith joins Steele, HPU's all-time winningest coach, along with all-time leading scorer Gene Littles, career point-per-game leader Danny Sewell and women's all-time leading scorer Karen Curtis McConico as HPU greats with banners in the Millis Center.

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