Two sources, both with basketball coaching connections, said Wednesday Minnesota head coach Tubby Smith is in the mix for the opening at USC. One of the sources said there has been contact between Smith’s agent, Ricky Lefft, and USC. Lefft is an assistant professor in USC’s Department of Sport and Entertainment Management.
Smith is in his fifth season at Minnesota and has the Gophers in the semi finals of the NIT after a win at Middle Tennessee State Wednesday night. The Gophers are 22-14 overall. They were 6-12 in Big Ten play this season.
Smith has been to two NCAA Tournaments and two NITs in his five seasons at Minnesota. He has made 16 NCAA Tournament appearances and won the national championship in his first season at Kentucky in 1998.
Smith is in the fifth season of a seven year contract that pays him 1.75 million dollars annually. There have been reports about the school wanting to give him a contract extension. However, the current athletic director is retiring this summer, and that could play a role in Smith looking at other options.
Smith and Kansas State coach Frank Martin appear to be the two hottest names for the USC job as of Wednesday. GamecockCentral, citing “a source close to the situation”, reported that Martin has had contact with USC officials.