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The Commercial Appeal (Memphis, Tennessee)


Less than two weeks after getting fired by Memphis, Tubby Smith landed a new job at his alma mater.

High Point University in North Carolina introduced Smith as its new men's basketball coach during a campus event on Tuesday. It is the seventh school in which Smith will have coached, and the fourth since 2013.

He came to Memphis in April 2016 after taking Texas Tech to the NCAA tournament and compiled a 40-26 record over two seasons with the Tigers.

Smith was fired on March 14 due mainly to financial concerns once attendance at Memphis basketball games dropped to a 48-year low this year and donations to the athletic department dropped.

"It's been tough, but there's always a silver lining in that," Smith said when asked about the circumstances that led him to return to High Point. "There were a lot of good opportunities. Certainly I'm motivated to come back here because this is family.

"It's going to energize and reinvigorate me. I've been in coaching 45 years, but I feel like I'm just getting started."

Smith, 66, played for High Point from 1969-73 and met his wife, Donna, there as well. The couple previously donated $1 million toward the university's planned on-campus arena, which is set to open in 2020 and will have a court named in honor of the Smith family.

Memphis still owes Smith nearly $10 million after firing him with three seasons left on his five-year contract. Though Memphis can pay that figure over six years, there is no offset clause in the contract if Smith were to get a new job.

Smith owns a 597-302 overall record and won a national championship with Kentucky in 1998.

High Point, which plays in the Big South Conference, has never made an appearance in the NCAA tournament. The school parted ways earlier this month with former coach Scott Cherry after nine seasons.

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March 28, 2018


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