No. 10: Tubby Smith
We begin our countdown with the coach on this list who was a Red Raider for the shortest amount of time. But what Tubby Smith did in just three years on the job was nothing short of miraculous.
Taking over a program in 2013 that had just been through three different head coaches in three years and which had not been to an NCAA Tournament in six years, he found a way to bring life back to Texas Tech basketball. And in his final season on campus, 2015-16, he ended the program’s eight-year March Madness drought.
That was the only winning season of Smith’s tenure in Lubbock as he went 19-13. That included a 9-9 conference record. It was the first time Tech had not had a losing mark in Big 12 play since 2006-07. As a result, he was named Sporting News National Coach of the Year and Big 12 Coach of the Year.
But does a coach with only one winning record to his name belong on this top-10 list? Certainly. After all, no Texas Tech program was in worse shape when Smith arrived than men’s basketball.
It wasn’t just the fact that the Red Raiders were coming off an 8 win season in 2011-12 and an 11-win season in 2012-13. It was that Smith was left to clean up the mess that was the Billy Gillespie disaster.
Smith’s time in Lubbock will forever be tainted by the abrupt manner in which he left town for Memphis without even meeting with Tech officials who wanted to try to persuade him to stay. But the job he did in three seasons with the Red Raiders was nothing short of superb which is why he checks in at No. 10 on this list.