By LARRY VAUGHT
Tubby Smith thoroughly enjoyed being back in Lexington again to play in the PGA Tour’s Barbasol Championship pro-am recently and hopes to be back again next year.
“I would love to come back and I always come back any time they invite me,” he said. “I was really glad to get invited because this is really special for Lexington. We miss being here. I loved seeing all the fans. It was good to see some old friends.
“I spent a lot of years of my coaching career here. There are still a lot of ties to this area for me. It’s just good to be back.”
Smith was on Rick Pitino’s staff at UK and then led Kentucky to the 1998 national championship — he was back in Lexington in April for an autograph session with his national championship players — when he became head coach after Pitino left for the Boston Celtics. Smith eventually left UK for Minnesota and has also been head coach at Texas Tech and Memphis since then. Now he’s in his first year as head coach at High Point, his alma mater, that he says he hopes to grow into a “Butler-type program” going forward and also get a game with Kentucky eventually.
Smith has nothing but praise for what John Calipari has done with the Kentucky program and admits he would like for High Point to play UK.
“He has done an unbelievable job with the program. I’ve been very impressed,” Smith said. “I think they are really going to have a good team again this year, too.”