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Tubby Smith, Anyone?

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The Internet was ablaze earlier this afternoon with reports that the Hogs are in hot pursuit of Minnesota coach (and former Kentucky coach) Tubby Smith. Check this passage from an article by Mike Jones of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram:

"[Billy] Gillispie has also had informal contact about the jobs at Arkansas and just-opened Oklahoma. The source said, however, that Arkansas has already had face-to-face contact with and is close to hiring Minnesota coach Tubby Smith."

(Hat tip to Matt Jones for the link.)

And earlier this afternoon, Mark Lericos, sports director for tv station 40/29 in Northwest Arkansas, tweeted the following:

"Minneapolis insiders called me, Tubby Smith to Arkansas is very strong. Definitely smoke.... we'll see about fire. If so, that's FAST."

Smith, whose Golden Gophers didn't make it to postseason play this year, has compiled an 80-53 record in four seasons at Minnesota and has led the school to two NCAA appearances. Of course, he won a national championship with Kentucky in 1998. Smith has had a fine career and seems to be a wonderful guy, but he would be a pretty blah choice, in my book. His day seems to be past.

Fortunately, just as I was starting to wonder about Long's weakness for uninspiring types (think Tommy Bowden, Jim Grobe), the rumor seems to have begun dying. The aforementioned Lericos just tweeted this:

"Per my sources on UA side: Tubby Smith rumors are basically smoke. No deal is imminent, or even close."

Stay tuned. I'm sure there are several more false alarms on the horizon.