MINNEAPOLIS, March 25 (UPI) -- Tubby Smith was fired Monday after six seasons as the men's basketball coach of the Minnesota Golden Gophers.
Minnesota was beaten 78-64 Sunday by Florida in their second game of the NCAA Tournament, ending the Gophers' season with a 21-13 record. Minnesota's 83-63 upset win over UCLA Friday was the only NCAA Tournament victory in Smith's tenure.
The Gophers got off to a fast start this season, going 15-1 and gaining a Top 10 ranking, but faltered in the second half.
Last July, Smith signed a contract extension through the 2016-17 season that includes a $2.5 million buyout clause, but that didn't stop Minnesota from making a change.
"Tubby has had a long and distinguished career and we feel it's time for a fresh set of eyes for our student-athletes and our program in general," Minnesota Athletic Director Norwood Teague said. "We are grateful to Tubby and his entire staff for their hard work and dedication to this university, our students and the entire Minnesota community."
Smith, 61, was 124-81 overall and 46-62 in the Big Ten in six seasons leading the Gophers. Minnesota went to the NCAA Tournament three times in that period but was 1-3 in the tournament.
Smith previously coached at Tulsa, Georgia and Kentucky, which won the NCAA title in 1998, Smith's first season. In 22 years as a head coach, Smith has a 511-226 record.
"I want to thank the University of Minnesota and the people of Minnesota for giving me the opportunity to lead the Golden Gopher basketball program for six years," Smith said. "Our staff did things the right way and will leave knowing that the program is in far better shape than when we arrived. The people of the state of Minnesota embraced Donna [his wife] and me from the beginning and we will always be grateful."