Tubbytown isn’t moving to Auburn

by Marco LaNave

For those concerned about Gophers men’s basketball coach Tubby Smith leaving for Auburn, there was calming news on Wednesday night.

Auburn announced that Tony Barbee will be its next head coach, officially ending speculation that Smith could be headed south to coach the Tigers.

Barbee, 38, coached the last four years at Texas-El Paso and was named the 2010 Conference USA coach of the year.  The Miners’ win total increased each year under Barbee, and they reached the NCAA tournament this season.

Smith had dismissed reports of his candidacy for the Auburn job after the Gophers’ NCAA tournament loss to Xavier on Friday.

Earlier that day, a report by the Birmingham News said Smith was among a list of candidates to replace six-year coach Jeff Lebo, who was fired on March 12.

Also last Friday, CBSSports.com’s Dennis Dodd cited a trusted source saying that Auburn was close to hiring Smith.