Smith says the river keeps on rolling

KSR's magazine cover last spring

This is the first of a five part interview KSR's Larry Vaught conducted with former Kentucky coach Orlando "Tubby Smith". In this part Larry and Tubby discuss the change from going to Kentucky to Minnesota.

MINNEAPOLIS -- Former University of Kentucky coach Tubby Smith took time to talk about a variety of subjects during a recent interview.

This is the first part of an exclusive series with Kentucky Sports Report that offers some insights into Smith and the feeling he still has for Kentucky.

Question: Any thoughts on not still being at Kentucky?

Smith: First, I miss seeing you guys in Kentucky, but life goes on. I tell my players to put their hands in a bucket of water. I ask them if they see anything missing when they pull their hands out. I tell them I saw a ripple (of water). In the big scheme of life in this universe, I tell them they are not even a ripple, just a particle. As a team we love you but if you do not want to be here, that's fine. See that ripple. The river just keeps rolling. With me gone, or anybody gone, the Big Blue machine keeps moving along. It's not as easy to keep it moving as it was years ago, but the Big Blue machine will keep going no matter who is coaching."

Question: How is life in Minnesota and how did you enjoy your first year with the Gophers?

Smith: "I couldn't have planned it any better. If we had been trying to plan a move, ... which I didn't because we didn't have big plan when left. We had no plans to leave Kentucky. Things do change. There is life and things happen. I knew it was time to make a change in my life. It has been great. It has been fun. It has been invigorating.

"The people here appreciate me coming from Kentucky to coach at Minnesota. Anyone who would leave the Kentucky program for any reason, people here appreciate that. We all have to make decisions. They are all different. Donna and I felt we contributed a lot to the Bluegrass and sometime we want to share with other people. There is another way to touch lives and it has been wonderful here. I could not have scripted it any better from an administrative standpoint, or player standpoint. We are not perfect and it is not all not hunky-dory, but it's pretty good."

Question: What about the weather? Wasn't that a big change?

Smith: "It was not a problem. Some people said this was one of coldest winters they have had and I thought, ‘Is this all I get because it wasn't that bad.' I live a few minutes from school. I have got a parking space, so I pull right in and walk a few steps to my office. Then I can drive to Williams Arena, sort of like Rupp Arena. We do practice where we play, but our offices are not at Williams Arena. But the weather really was not that big a deal."

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