SBD/March 26, 2013/Colleges

Firing Of Tubby Smith, Hiring Of New Coach Could Cost Univ. Of Minnesota At Least $6M

Smith's buyout is $2.5M after inking a three-year extension before the season
Univ. of Minnesota men's basketball coach Tubby Smith was fired yesterday after six seasons for "largely failing to deliver" on the hype that came with his hiring, and it is a move AD Norwood Teague said he hoped fans would view “as an investment in the future,” according to a front-page piece by Dennis Brackin of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. But that investment "comes with a hefty price tag." Smith received a three-year extension last July that "netted him a buyout" of $2.5M, and that, "along with the firing of all of Smith’s assistant coaches, and the ensuing hiring of replacements, is likely to cost" at least $6M. Teague put "no timetable on a new hire," but said that he would "not employ a search firm, a sign that the search should move quickly and that Teague is confident in his ability to make a strong hire." Some people wondered "whether the decision made sense, especially financially." UM has been "under scrutiny for its administrative costs, described as out of control by a January Wall Street Journal report." UM has "already paid" more than $4M since '06 to former coaches Dan Monson, Glen Mason and Tim Brewster. There have been "suggestions that private donors would help defray some of the buyout costs, and Teague did not deny that possibility, saying only that the buyout costs would 'be out of athletic department funds,' which include fundraising." He said the athletic budget was “in good shape ... and if we did not feel good about that from our own budget, we would not have been haphazard about a decision like this" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE 3/26). In Minneapolis, Sid Hartman cited sources as saying that basketball gate receipts and corporate support "had gone down the past two years, and that if the university had retained Smith, that revenue would continue to slide" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 3/26).
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