Smith says he misses the people the most

Tubby Smith

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

Question: How much longer is Tubby Smith going to keep coaching?

Smith: "I never think about retiring. I am so worried about the next day, I don't have time. I do try to plan for that rainy day and hope we have invested in the right things. We love wherever we live. We love Kentucky, and a lot of great places, we have been in a lot of places. We feel blessed. We have the ability to pick and choose when the time does come to retire, but I'm not ready yet."

Question: What, if anything, do you miss about Kentucky and how much do you still enjoy visiting and talking with friends in the Bluegrass?

Smith: "I miss the players. I miss (administrative assistant) Marta McMackin. I miss the staff -- Dave Hobbs, Reggie Hanson and Scott Rigot. You miss people like that. You miss people more than anything. You miss the people who helped make the program great every day. The managers, the people you know and love and who care about you and are laying it on the line on a daily basis for you.

"In this day and time, you are in touch with people on a regular basis through e-mail. I can pull up any newspaper I want on the Internet. I just Google and it is there. You are never far away. You are never gone.

"I have been back to Kentucky a few times. It was really an honor to be inducted into the Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame. I have received some other great honors. I do not know what I did to deserve those honors, but I am appreciative of the people in Kentucky still remembering me."

Question: Maybe it was winning that 1998 national title that people appreciate so much. Does it seem like it has been 10 years to you since that team won the title?

"I was thinking about that not that long ago. I thought we would have had two more championships. I thought the team that lost to Marquette and Dwyane Wade could have won. I thought the team that lost to Michigan State in overtime could have won. But it's not easy to win a title. I have been in coaching 34 years and they just don't give those things away.

"I know how blessed I am. But time moves fast. I can't say it was like yesterday that we won because it was a long time ago. But campers here still ask me about it. I just tell them that is the past and prefer to talk about what we are doing here. But those are memories I will always cherish, just like a lot of the memories I have from Kentucky."

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