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Minnesota fires Smith

Tubby Smith reacts to a foul call during Minnesota’s loss Sunday to Florida, Smith’s last game coaching the Gophers.

Associated Press

Tubby Smith reacts to a foul call during Minnesota’s loss Sunday to Florida, Smith’s last game coaching the Gophers.

MINNEAPOLIS — Tubby Smith was hailed as a rescuer when he came to Minnesota from Kentucky in 2007, a championship-certified coach who would restore the program to respectability after it was brought down by scandal.

Smith brought the Golden Gophers to the NCAA Tournament three times and kept Minnesota free of NCAA violations for six years. But when new athletic director Norwood Teague saw the progress stagnate, he decided it was time for a different voice.

Smith was fired Monday, one day after the Gophers lost to Florida in the NCAA Tournament.

"I feel it's time for a fresh approach for our basketball program, for our student athletes and the program in general," Teague said.

Smith was 124-81 in six seasons at Minnesota, winning 20 games five times and bringing its first NCAA Tournament victory since 1997 last week against UCLA. He went 46-62 in Big Ten play and never finished higher than sixth.

HOWLAND SAYS GOODBYE: Ben Howland kept it classy in departing as UCLA coach, thanking Dan Guerrero, the athletic director who fired him, while noting the high expectations that come with running a program that owns a record 11 national titles.

Meanwhile, Washington coach Lorenzo Romar said he has had no contact with UCLA regarding the position. Romar, a Southern California native, was a Bruins assistant from 1992-96.

JACKSON ST.: Wayne Brent was hired as head coach after winning four state championships in six seasons at Callaway High School in Jackson, Miss.

SOUTH ALABAMA: Butler associate head coach Matthew Graves was named head coach.

NIT: Vincent Council scored seven of his 12 in the final 5:21, including a key three-point play, as fourth-seeded Providence (19-14) beat visiting Robert Morris 77-68 in the second round.

WNIT: January Miller had 16 points to lead five players in double figures as visiting Florida (20-14) routed Winthrop 85-53 in the second round. UF visits Charlotte (26-5) at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

Minnesota fires Smith 03/25/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 26, 2013 1:14am]
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