Billy Tubbs back at Lamar

March 21, 2003 at 1:43 PM
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BEAUMONT, Texas, March 21 (UPI) -- Just 10 months into his tenure as Athletic Director at Lamar

University, Billy Tubbs will add the title of men's basketball coach.

The school made that announcement Thursday.

Tubbs will replace Mike Deane, who is being reassigned after posting a 52-62 record in four seasons. Deane led the Cardinals to a 13-14 record this past season.

It looked like Tubbs' highly successful coaching career was over after last season when he retired following an eight-year stint in which he rebuilt the Texas Christian program.

The 68-year-old Tubbs has decided to return to the sidelines at his alma mater, where he coached from 1976-80. He guided the Cardinals to a 75-46 record and the school's first two NCAA appearances.

"I've always said that I love coaching so much I would do it for free," said Tubbs, who returned to Lamar as AD last May. "I never realized, though, that I would actually get the chance to do it."

The school's president, Jimmy Simmons, persuaded Tubbs to return to the sidelines.

"Billy was very reluctant at first, but the more we talked about it, the more excited he got," said Simmons. "Taking this approach was our only real option in pointing the program in a different direction at this time. If this is the future and the direction we want to go, then I'm certainly delighted and happy. I'm excited about coaching this team."

In 1978-79, Tubbs led the Cardinals to a 23-9 record and an NCAA berth, where they upset Detroit in the first round before losing to eventual national champion Michigan State, which was led by Magic Johnson. A year later, he led the Cardinals to the "Sweet 16" of the NCAA Tournament.

After his stint at Lamar, Tubbs moved on to Oklahoma for 14 seasons, and brought a fast-break style of play to build the Sooners into a national power. He took Oklahoma to the title game of the 1988 Final Four, where his team was beaten by Kansas.

Tubbs continued his trend of rebuilding programs at TCU, where he guided the Horned Frogs to a 156-95 record. He took the Horned Frogs to the NCAA Tournament in 1998 for the first time in 11 years.

Overall, he has registered a 595-297 record in 28 seasons. His win total ranks 30th all-time in NCAA history, and his .667 career winning percentage ranks 76th.

Tubbs began his coaching career at Southwestern University in 1971. During his career, he has led his teams to 12 NCAA appearances, six NIT berths, eight conference championships, and 18 20-win seasons. He is a two-time national Coach of the Year.

Rising senior guard Terrell Petteway, this year's team captain, said he had mixed emotions about losing Deane and Tubbs coming back.

"Basically, we want to play basketball," Petteway told the Beaumont Enterprise. "That's life, though. Things change and you're put into situations where you have to go on with life and grow those experiences. I'm from Texas, so I'm really excited about the up-tempo style we're about to play. And since I'm a senior, I know what it takes and I know what I have to do get on guys when I have to. I'm excited about the style we're about to play."

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