Minnesota fires Tubby Smith

The University of Minnesota has fired men's basketball coach Tubby Smith after six seasons.

Smith led the Golden Gophers to a record of 21-13 this season, which concluded Sunday with a 78-64 loss to Florida in the third round of the NCAA Tournament.

The Gophers were 124-81 and never had a losing season under Smith, who signed a contract extension through the 2016-17 season last July. However, Minnesota was just 46-62 in the Big Ten and never finished better than sixth in the conference.

"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," said Smith in a statement through the university on Monday. "Our staff did things the right way and will leave knowing that the program is in far better shape than when we arrived."

Minnesota reached the NCAA Tournament three times under Smith and Friday's 83-63 victory over UCLA in the second round was the first NCAA triumph for the Gophers since a Final Four run -- since vacated -- in 1997. The Gophers also earned a pair of NIT bids during Smith's tenure.

"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," said Minnesota athletic director Norwood Teague. "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."

This year's Gopher squad opened the season 15-1 and was ranked as high as No. 8 in early January, but an 88-81 loss at Indiana started a four-game losing streak that led to 5-11 finish heading into the NCAA Tournament.

Before taking over at Minnesota, Smith was the head coach at Tulsa, Georgia and Kentucky. He won the SEC Tournament five times and the 1998 NCAA championship with the Wildcats.

Smith's overall record is 511-226 over 22 seasons.