MINNEAPOLIS – Minnesota coach Tubby Smith says he expects to be back at Minnesota next season.
Several reports on Monday said Smith was close to replacing John Pelphrey at Arkansas. Smith appeared on his weekly radio show on WCCO-AM Monday night and was asked if he expected to return.
Smith said, "Yes I do."
The coach said he is continuing to work on a two-year extension with athletic director Joel Maturi. Smith has wanted a new practice facility ever since he arrived in 2007, but the school has not been able to raise the necessary funds to make that happen yet.
Smith just wrapped up a disappointing fourth season in Minnesota, with a 17-14 record that ended his streak of 17 straight 20-win seasons, the longest active run in major college basketball. The Gophers lost 10 of their last 11 games and did not receive a bid to the NCAA or NIT tournaments. In a story posted Monday night on the athletic department website, Smith said the Gophers declined to participate in the CBI and CIT tournaments.
"I am sure that people are wondering why we didn't accept one of the invitations from the CBI or the CIT," Smith said. "We just really felt that it wasn't in the best interest of our program. I don't want it to sound like the tournaments are not quality tournaments, but at this stage in our program we believe that we just needed to start our preparation towards next season."