Kentucky brought in High Point this afternoon, to honor former coach Tubby Smith and all the success he had as a Wildcat, by raising his jersey into the rafters of Rupp Arena.
Coach Smith becomes just the 44th jersey to be retired in Kentucky history, and just the fourth coach, alongside Adolph Rupp, Joe B. Hall, and Rick Pitino.
Tubby's highlight intro:
Orlando “Tubby” Smith was head coach of the Wildcats for 10 years, from the 1997-98 season through the 2006-07 campaign. His first team became known as the "Comeback Cats" after the Wildcats erased multiple double-digit deficits en route to a 35-4 record and UK's seventh national title.
Trailing Duke by 17 points, with less than 10 minutes to play in the South Regional final, the Wildcats stormed back to win 86-84. Down by 10 against Stanford in the second half of the NCAA semifinal, the Cats clawed back to force overtime and an eventual 86-85 victory. And, it wouldn't have been fitting if UK hadn't trailed Utah by 10 points at halftime of the title tilt, again rallying to take the trophy by a score of 78-69.
During his 10 seasons, Smith coached the Wildcats to at least 22 victories each season, totaling a 263-83 record (76.0%). His teams won five regular-season SEC championships and five SEC Tournament crowns, featuring a league title (regular season or tournament) in seven of his 10 years at UK. His teams advanced to the NCAA Tournament in all 10 seasons, including six trips to the Sweet Sixteen, and had a 23-9 record (71.9%) in the national playoffs.
Smith was three-time National Coach of the Year (1998, 2003, 2005) as well as a three-time SEC Coach of the Year selection while at UK. He also spent two seasons at UK as an assistant coach, 1989-90 and 1990-91, helping rebuild the program and achieving a 22-6 record and SEC-best 14-4 league mark during the 1991 campaign.
"The biggest thing is I want he and his wife and the kids to understand that this place, these fans, this school, this state, absolutely appreciates what he did while he coached here," John Calipari said.
Now, he is in the rafters forever.
Well deserved to a Kentucky legend.