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July 18, 2006

Stay Classy, Kentucky

You just know Tubby Smith loves his job. I mean, how many jobs outside the state of Alabama permit you to interact with discerning sports fans of temperate judgment and lucid expression like songwriter OH Napier.

OH penned the tune "Final Four or Hit the Door" to express his appreciation for the decade of sustained success and lack of scandal Tubby has brought to Lexington disdain for the fact Tubby isn't...wait for starts with a "w"...John Wooden. Read an interview with OH here.

A highlight: OH on the inspiration for his screed ode:

TubbyBasher1 whom I met in a ky post board about the team sent me a shirt with the words on it "Tubby Final Four or Hit the Door". I believe these words say it all. Done this song is 30 minutes and I am right proud of this version but is subject to change like the tune but the words will remain the same. Final Four or Hit the Door.

OH Napier: Kentucky's answer to Clisby Clark. Took time out from writing his manifesto to pen an anthem of which Adolf Rupp would be proud.

This song defies a simple written description and invites you--no, dares you-- to experience it directly. Listen here. A preview:

Well 10 years ‘been a long time for ya, TubbyNow you’d better get it done this year, buddyOh You’d better win… you’d better win ‘Cause my woman’s gettin’ tarred and my dog’s gettin’ hungry And my gun’s all gone and I’m gettin’ lonely…
Like I have said before, it is big fat lie that Kentucky fans like basketball. Kentucky fans do not like basketball. They do not like anything or anyone. They just like winning.

A&R Bureau Chief,
Georgia Sports Blog

HT: Deadspin


Unknown said...

No kidding. My jaw was on the floor when I realized that was his actual picture.

Then I listened. No, I really listened.

oh. my. gosh.


Anonymous said...

I'm a UGA grad, but I was born in Louisville. They have a large group of knowledgeable, dedicated fans...and they have their idiots, just like every school. If DJ Shockley had turned the ball over 6 times in the opener game like Boise's qb did, I'm sure some of our low brow fans would have been posting some incredibly classy comments about him.

I like Tubby, but he is coaching at the winningest program in the history of college basketball. He followed a legend in Pitino, who was competing for a national championship every year. Tubby isn't getting it done, period. He's not recruiting players who can compete for a national title. UK is not seen as a national title contender and they aren't even the class of the SEC any longer.

Tubby doesn't deserve the type of the behavior this fan exhibited, but he's got to do better than he's done in the past couple of years to keep a job like the one at UK. Other than the NC with Pitino's players during his first year, I'd compare the job he's done to what Jim Donnan did at UGA. Not a bad resume', but not good enough....and, make no mistake, expectations are even higher for UK basketball(6 or 7 national championships in their history) than UGA football.

Astronaut Mike Dexter said...

Visually, musically, intellectually, and attitudinally (is that a word?), OH Napier has managed to confirm every single one of my worst instincts about Kentucky fans. Wildcats, you're gonna need a looooot more Ashley Judd in the next few weeks to counteract this guy. Better get crackin'.

Darth Scooter said...

I'm with anonymous. While the pressure thrown at Tubby isn't fair, you get what you ask for sometimes. Tubby could've stayed at UGA and we'd have been happy just competing for the SEC and going to the NCAA Tournament on a regular basis, but at Kentucky if you aren't winning championships you are a failure. Its just the facts of life. Tubby knew it going in. Its the same as the ND or Alabama coaching jobs no matter what the circumstances are the fan base expects to be title contenders every year.

Unknown said...

Not winning championships? LMAO!

Surely you're not talking about national titles. Because they've only won 7 NCs in 100+ years. And only two in the past 27 years. One of which Tubby won.

It's not like they win it every other year before Tubby got there.

In fact, he's winning them more frequently than the historical average.

Other championships and top finishes for Tubby at UK:

1 NCAA tourney title
3 Elite 8s
2 Sweet 16s

(In other words, he made the Sweet 16 or better 6 out of 9 years and the Elite 8 or better 4 out of 9 years)

Averaged 26.6 wins

19-4 in the SEC Tourney
5 SEC Tourney Titles
5 Regular Season SEC Tourney Titles

2 Regular Season Runner ups
1 SEC Tourney Runner Up

The reason he doesn't win more than he does, is that this isn't 1950 anymore. Much of the rest of the SEC does in fact give a damn about basketball, and UK actually has some competition for the title.

The expectations are no longer realistic.

He lost control of last year's team for sure. But the reality is that he's one of the Top 5 coaches in college hoops.

And UK fans want him gone. That's absurd.


Anonymous said...

Paul, dont get between a UK basketball fan and his (or her) belief that UK should win the national title EVERY year. They are some of the nicest people on earth, but woe to anyone who suggests that the Cats shouldnt go undefeated every year.

If you could combine the indefatigability of South Carolina football fans, the unreasonable self importance of Auburn football fans, the joie de vive of LSU football fans, the recruiting info fervor of UGA football fans, the regal history of UNC basketball fans, the "extremism in the pursuit of championships is not a vice" approach of Tennessee football fans, the extremes of wealth and poverty of Venezuela, the averaged wardrobe of West Virginia and Tennessee, mix in a dash of heartbreaking killerettes from the hills and hollers, a dash of Ma and Pa Kettle, then subtract any vestige of reason or accountability, you'd have the formula for the UK basketball nation.

Them people's nuts. Yeah, they hold coaches to a higher standard. Tubby should have known that before he ever took the job. On the other hand, the dude who wrote that "song" looks like the love child of Rasputin and Courtney Love. How long has he been eating lead based paint chips, anyhow?

Anonymous said...

The problem is Tubby came in right after Pitino so that's going to be every UK fans point of comparison...if Pitino did it, why can't Tubby? For the last six years of Pitino's tenure, they were a legitimate threat to win it all every single year. Pitino raised the bar again and the teams Tubby is putting on the floor in recent years aren't up to the standards that Pitino set.

Pitino's resume':

UK Record: 219-50(81.4%), 8 Years
Overall Record: 352-124(73.9%), 15 years
Alma Mater (Year): UMass(1974)
Hometown: New York, NY
Born: Sept 18, 1952

Promising to win right away, the 36-year-old coach from the New York Knicks rook the challenge of rebuilding the UK basketball dynasty and never quit until the job was complete eight years later.

Pitino came to UK with impressive credentials, having rebuilt Boston College, Providence and the Knicks before traveling to the Bluegrass. His first UK ream, “Pitino’s Bombinos”, shocked the college basketball world by defeating Shaquille ONeal, Chris Jackson and the No. 9-ranked LSU Tigers in Lexington en route to a 14-14 record on 1989-90.

It was a glimpse into the future. The following year, UK finished with the best record in the SEC. Then in 1992, fresh off NCAA probation, the “Unforgettables” rook eventual national champion Duke into overtime of the East Regional final before falling 104-103 in what many have labeled the “greatest college basketball game ever played.”

In 1993, with Jamal Mashburn leading the charge, UK advanced to the Final Four for the first rime in nine years, losing to Michigan in overtimc. The next year, the Cars recorded the biggest road comeback in NCAA history -31 points with 15:34 remaining-to defeat LSU, 99-95. After an Elite Eight finish in ‘95, Pitino’s squad became the team to beat in ‘96. Highlights included the school’s first league championship in 10 seasons, a 27-game win streak, a top-three ranking nearly the entire season, and the crowning jewel, the school’s sixth NCAA title.

After a trip to the White House for a celebration with the President, UK lost four players to the NBA Draft. Pitino's task of defending the national championship became more difficult after star-guard Derek Anderson severely injured his knee during the season. But his Cats wouldn’t fold, rolling to the title game before losing to Arizona in overtime.

Along the way, Pitino won on five of six SEC Tournament Championships two ECAC Holiday Classics, the Maui Invitational and the Great Alaska Shootout. He had a 104-28 record vs. SEC teams, winning two league crowns and an amazing 17-I record in the SEC tourney.

He coached three All-Americans and eight All-SEC performers. The NBA drafted eight of his Wildcats, six in the first round, including three lottery picks.

Following the national runner-up trophy in 1997, the former point guard at UMass left UK for the challenge of rebuilding the Boston Celtics of the NBA.

Anonymous said...

thanks to Anonymous 11:04, I rest my case.

It wouldnt have mattered if Tubby followed Rick Petino, John Wooden, or Francis the Talking Mule. If you dont win the SEC every...single...year...., and at LEAST get to the Final Four every year (where an occasional loss may be tolerated), you ain't gettin' it done for UK fans.

Tubby can't blame them for being how they've ALWAYS been. It's like the hot chick who's a high maintenance pain in the ass. You know how she was when you started dating her. But, you craved her. You craved the envious gasps of other men as you squired her about. Hey, look at me....I'm MUCHO HOMBRE, my friends. I can land a woman the rest of you only dream about, or at least, see in really fine cable pay per view features. Now that she's getting a little impatient because the jet set lifestyle she requires isnt exactly what you're giving her lately, you cant start bitching or bringing up that trip you took her on to Cote d'Azur 4 years ago. She's shallow. She wants to know what you've done for her LATELY. But, she was that way when you met her. Did you really think she'd change for you?

Tubby got exactly what he asked for. Maybe it's unfair that they're turning on him, but that dog was ALWAYS a biter, so to speak.

Dawgnoxious said...

all school: between the recipe for the wildcat nation, the hot high maintenance chick metaphor, and "the love child of Rasputin and Courtney Love" reference, you deserve a prize of some sort. Well played, sir.

Anonymous said...

Growing up in Cincinnati, I can assure you that UK basketball fans run (red)neck and neck with OSU football fans. I'm sure there are some normal ones, but they must be kept under wraps.

YOU think the shirt's a classless play on words, THEY'RE mad at the printer.

Dawgnoxious said...

YOU think the shirt's a classless play on words, THEY'RE mad at the printer.


Anonymous said...

Having many friends in the Lexington & Louisville areas, I can assure you that it has less to do with his record and more to do with his skin color. Rupp is a legend there for more reasons than winning. Sad, but it is Kentucky.

The College Game said...

The biggest, most recent problem is that 22-13 is what UK did last year with a 26-point loss to Indiana followed a month or so later by a 27-point loss to Kansas. Had UK lost each of those games by 10 points or less, UK fans would have chalked it up to a subpar year and moved on, but to get embarrassed is what has some UK fans ravenous.

The funny part? UK advanced further than both of those teams in the NCAAs.

Look, being in Lexington, I hear it all, but to me it still comes down to this issue. Rick Pitino = Steve Spurrier. Pitino was a cult of personality. He restored the program and led UK to its second greatest stretch in the history of the program. That is where the belief of winning it all every year comes from. 1993-1998 saw UK in the Final Four 4 times out of 6.

Yes, I know Tubby was the '98 rep, even winning the title. But you have some people who only see that as Pitino's players being managed by Tubby. (Ridiculous.)

Personally I agree with the assessment that UK has only won 7 titles, and 13 FF appearances in 68 tournaments. (NCAAs began in 1939.) If your a UK fan like I am, you have to understand you don't win it all every year and Final Fours are special. But after the 1993-1998 period, some people still won't let go that UK should be a fixture at the event.

Tubby simply gets the blame because for a lot of people in this state, he is following a legend in Pitino.

The curious part is the Pitino in Louisville dilemma. However, if push came to shove, UK fans would take him back in a heartbeat.

Its sad, but the last statement to make is that Tubby is suffering from being very unlucky as well. 2003 and 2004 UK was a #1 seed. They lost to Marquette and UAB in the tournament. The Marquette loss keeps looking better everyday with the emergence of D-Wade in the NBA, but our fans skip over the 26-games won in a row and only see "he missed the Final Four".

Currently UK is at its longest drought of not going to a Final Four, 1998-present. You have hardliners who have given up and will only back Tubby when he makes a Final Four. Then again, you have some who say he has to win it all, not just a Final Four to be worthy of being our coach again.

Either way, its the expectations that ran Spurrier from Florida when the UF fanbase came to expect perfection. UF has never achieved that level of success and never will again - winning four straight SEC titles.

UK hoops is in the same boat. UK fans need to realize that 1993-98 was very, very special and let it go at that.

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