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An Open Letter to Tubby Smith

(With Apologies to A Sea Of Blue, But This Was Just Too Much Fun)

An Open Letter to Tubby Smith:

How's it going T-bone? That's what your players call you isn't it? No? Fine, Tubby it is, but I'm going to keep trying T-bone till you like it. Anyway, I was wondering what your plans were for next season, and the next five seasons after that.

You see, I'm a Michigan fan. And in case you haven't noticed, well, who am I kidding, you haven't noticed, we're not going dancing this year. In fact we haven't gone dancing since 1998. You see, we kind of suck at basketball. Little things like passing and shooting are really hard for us. That's one of the reasons we're starting to look for a new coach ... I mean... consider our options unofficially. Tommy still "officially" has the job, so we can't talk numbers. But trust me, there's a comfy office in Crisler with your name on it if you're interested. Wink, wink, yaknowwhadamsayin?

I understand through some friends and confidential informants that things aren't too rosy right now in Lexington. I know it's been sort of a tough year. The team is 20-10 overall and 9-7 in conference. But hey, didn't you get named 2003 coach of the year and make it to the Elite 8 two years ago? Hell, look at Duke. At least your players are taking a rough year with dignity. And its not like the cupboards bare either, there's talent on the roster. The SEC's gotten better. You'll adapt.

That's why I was surprised when I saw Kentucky AD Mitch Barnhart told the press:

"I know that the fans, coaches and players are disappointed with the results of the season up to this point...If the close games we've lost in February become victories during the tournaments, then this team has a chance to play up to its potential, which is what all of us as Wildcat fans want."
Um. What? Isn't the season still going on? Despite a National championship, 5 SEC titles, 4 Elite Eight appearances, making the NCAAs every year, and winning at least 20 games every season you've been at Kentucky, you're taking crap from your Athletic Director. Worse, some jackass put a "For Sale" sign on your lawn last year. You shouldn't have to put up with that, T-bone.

You don't have to. Look at Tommy Amaker. He can take two senior laden squads with multiple offensive threats, make them worse, make them miss the tournament, embarrass themselves in a weak conference and never hear a peep out of the athletic director. I think Tommy could kill a man with his bare hands and the only thing Michigan AD Bill Martin would say is "We're looking into it. Have you seen the Michigan Stadium plans yet?" Ever since the Ed Martin (no relation) disasters from the Chris Webber thru Tractor Traylor era, Michigan seems to only care about keeping its nose clean. But hey, you're one of, if not the classiest and cleanest coaches in America. Since you've been at Kentucky there hasn't even been a whiff of anything amiss.

Seriously though. Talk about a free ride. Amaker hasn't developed a single athlete into an NBA quality player. Can you imagine how much fun you would've had with Daniel Horton or Dion Harris? How many first rounders have you produced? Five? Sweet. Michigan hasn't had a guy play in the Association in, well, good question. It's pretty apparent watching Michigan play that the gameplan is "how high can you shove your head up your colon?" Not a peep out of the AD. Nothing but support. You're one of the better X's and O's coaches in the country. Imagine being able to coach in an environment without having to look over your shoulder.

See what I'm getting at here, T-bone?

You know it's funny, in the 10 years you've been at Kentucky, going to the tournament and winning things, Michigan's been to the Tournament once. You've been every year. Clean program. Classy kids. The type of coach most schools would trip over themselves to hire.

If things go south, maybe it's time to start over. You know from scratch. Take a program and mold it in your own image without the ghosts of champions past glaring down upon you. Oh where could such a program be? Oh wait. MICHIGAN.

You're a big name coach. The type of guy that would make a HUGE splash with the alumni community. Imagine all the money for renovations and practice facilities that would pour in. Yeah Kentucky built a $30 million dollar practice facility, but this is Michigan, we spend that on the track team (because, honestly, they're more impressive than the basketball team right now). There's really no money shortage when the proper motivation for spending it is there. Bill Martin bathes in hundreds and pisses quarters. Sue Coleman takes a gold plated jet wherever she goes and wears diamond shoes. The problem is the team is so bad no one wants to spend money to improve it. However, a big name coach would loosen those diamond shoes and entice Martin to pump the alumni for a new/renovated arena and a practice facility that would make the Lakers envious.

In terms of competition, you're looking at a gold mine. Thad Mata, for all his recruiting, can't teach a horse to crap. You've only got true coaching competition in East Lansing, Madison, and Bloomington. Recruiting wise, Detroit is one of the most fertile basketball recruiting fields in the country. You just convinced Draymond Green to come to Kentucky so you already know this.

It's a paradise waiting to be reclaimed T-bone. An AD that believes once you're hired you can do no wrong. An alumni base that isn't obsessed with the 1940s. Money, loads and loads of money. Top notch recruits a half an hour away. A weak conference. A program to mold in your own image, and all the credit that goes along with that when you succeed. That is, of course, if you're available.

If not, forget I asked.


Maize n Brew and the Michigan Fan Base