Fire Tubby Smith, Please: A Petition (and Plea)

A respectful but heartfelt plea to Tom Bowen, President Rudd, and the University of Memphis Athletic Dep’t in general:

Click here if you’re tired of being embarrassed. Click here if you remember the University of Memphis as a basketball powerhouse.  Click here if you remember when our Tigers didn’t lose to Cincy by 40.  If you skipped the headline, click here if you support the firing of Tubby Smith.

Memphis Tiger Basketball is important to this community. It always has been. It united Memphians well before the Grizzlies and Redbirds arrived. Together, we experienced sky-highs and depressing lows. But, damn, was it ever fun.

Presently, our basketball program is coached by Tubby Smith. He is paid $3MM a year. He is assuredly a hall-of-famer and student of the game, but he also happens to be the worst possible candidate for this particular job. He has a legendary basketball mind, but he doesn’t recruit. Rather, he drives talent away from the program. He doesn’t get out in the community. Rather, he rents a mansion and releases canned soundbites about this program and the reasons for the unprecedented lack of attendance. PSSST.  Hey, Coach Smith.  The reason is the product on the floor is lackluster. It’s not because there’s more Tuesday games. I respect the man’s legacy and contributions to college basketball, but he just isn’t my coach.

Tubby is on his last leg, likely to retire in 5 years. Tubby was supposed to restore some balance to this program. Instead, he has led it to its most unsure and unsteady status that I can remember. Simply put, there is no hope. And that, my fellow Memphis fans, is the most dire thing to lack.

Importantly, this survey is not to belittle the student athletes who proudly wear the Memphis jersey and play their hearts out every game. But the fact remains: Tubby has done nothing to help those kids. He has not put them in a position to succeed in any capacity. I feel bad for them having to play teams that outmatch them — definitely in talent, and, by God, maybe coaching too.

Please sign this petition and let the athletic department know that we will not stand for such subpar running of this basketball program — one that should ALWAYS be Top 25 relevant. This isn’t about soiling Tubby’s good name.  In what field are employees who aren’t a good fit allowed to keep their jobs? The same goes here, and some change is needed.

The BarnBurner remembers a team led with pride.  A team led with hope.  In other words, we remember a pre-Tubby Smith era.  So, my dear Mr. Bowen and President Rudd, let’s control our own destiny and restore Memphis Tiger basketball to the echelon in which it belongs.  Go Tigers Go!

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[banner image from Tulsa World]

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