Tubby Smith's camp "furious" after coach first learns of U of M firing from news reports

Reporters and U of M Regents knew of Smith's firing before he did.
Reporters and U of M Regents knew of Smith's firing before he did.

An interesting subplot of yesterday's Tubby-gets-fired story pertains to how Smith first heard he was out as coach.

THE BACKSTORY: Tubby Smith fired; new U of M basketball coach already in place?

About an hour after news of Tubby's termination broke, reports circulated that Smith still hadn't been notified of his firing by the university. From the standpoint of U of M athletics department administration, that, of course, doesn't seem like a very professional way to handle the ouster of a respected, high-profile employee.

According to the Associated Press's John Krawczynski, Tubby's camp was "furious" to first hear the news from the media.

During the afternoon press conference in which he discussed Smith's firing, U of M athletics director Norwood Teague acknowledged that news of Smith's ouster broke before he had a chance to speak with him.

"Everything leaks, all the time," Teague said when asked how it was possible for Smith to learn of his termination from the media. "We know that. No one intentionally did that. Things leak and that's just the way it is."

Teague added that when he finally had a chance to talk to Tubby, he could "see the disappointment in his eyes."

"He's a great human being," Teague said. "I don't think he was totally surprised."

But before you feel too bad for Tubby, remember that he'll receive a cool $2.5 million buyout for getting axed. And Smith "definitely plans to keep coaching," Krawczynski reports, so yesterday probably won't be his last payday either.

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