April 4, 2007

Tubby's Coaching Staff

Well it appears that Tubby has compiled his coaching staff and it looks like this...

Jimmy Williams
Saul Smith
Ron Jirsa
Shawn Finney - Dir. of Basketball Operations (?)

Jimmy Williams appears to be the most experienced of the group and on paper brings the most to the table for a few reasons...

  1. Williams was an assistant with the Gophers for 15 years. Granted this was a long time ago with Musselman and Dutcher, but that is a long time to be in this area and it makes him familiar with the schools and MN basketball.
  2. Williams is a known recruiter. Twice been named as one of the top recruiters in the nation and has been credited with much of the recent success at Oklahoma State because of his recruiting abilities. Williams has been responsible for nationally ranked recruiting classes in the 70s, 80s, 90s and even as recent as 2001 when he recruited a consensus top 5 class to OK State.
  3. Williams has a lot of experience. Coach Williams has coached in the Big 10, Big 12, NBA as a coach and a scout, and has shown success at every stop (including Nebraska which isn't easy to do). In addition to his coaching stops he has also learned from top coaches such as Eddie Sutton, Flip Saunders and Musselman.
  4. Williams has ties to Jai Lucas. This is me making assumptions BUT I assume that Coach Williams was involved in the recruitment of John Lucas Jr. (Jai's older brother) to OK State. Even if he wasn't the primary recruiter he was surely there as a coach to John Jr. This can only help in the late efforts by this new MN staff to land a 5-star, McDonald's All-American for the gophers.
  5. Williams is known as a developer of big men. Pay attention Bryce Webster, you just might learn something and be a valuable Big 10 Big Man.
Saul Smith - Tubby's son, who was spent the last 3 years at Tennessee Tech. I haven't been able to find much more than that on Saul, but there isn't much more that you need to know. Assuming Tubby has a successful career in MN, I think it would be a safe bet that Saul might be groomed as his replacement down the road. That is a long ways off, but a strong possiblity.

Ron Jirsa - Coach Jirsa has a history with Tubby going back to Viginia Commonwealth, Tulsa and Georgia. Jirsa has a broad range of experience learning under Tubby and Oliver Purnell as well as 4 seasons as head coach at Marshall (also should be noted he was not retained at Marshall).

Shawn Finney - 5 years as head coach at Tulane and also goes back with Tubby to Tulsa, Georgia and Kentucky. Like Jirsa, Finney was also not retained as head coach.

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