BEST COACH - 2008
Tubby Smith's stated wish to see a shiny new McFacility built on the grave of the venerable and wonderfully idiosyncratic Williams Arena is an idea that must under no circumstances be indulged. With its claustrophobia-inducing student section, wood benches that all but mandate that the crowd stand whenever remotely appropriate, and, of course, the ever-frightening raised floor, The Barn is perhaps the most disorienting and unpleasant venue for visiting teams in all of college basketball. Ironically, it took Tubby to remind us of the joy of watching guests endure the torture chamber. In Tubby's first season on the job, with scant changes to the roster, he turned a team coming off an embarrassing 7-22 record into a scrappy squad knocking—if a bit softly—on the door of the NCAA tournament. With a top-flight recruiting class in place for next year, things figure to only get better from here. And so let us make a wish of our own: Here's hoping for many future seasons watching Tubby Smith patrol the sidelines—on the raised floor.