Tubby Smith is leaving Kentucky after 10 seasons to take over the head coaching job at Minnesota.
Smith, who had four years remaining on his contract, will be introduced at a 1 p.m. ET news conference Friday in Minneapolis. He made his intentions known to Kentucky players and athletic director Mitch Barnhart earlier Thursday and also phoned former Minnesota coach Dan Monson, who was fired in November, to tell him he was accepting the job.
Minnesota is expected to pay Smith $1.8 million per year.
In 10 years at Kentucky, where he replaced Rick Pitino, Smith went 263-83 and went to the NCAA Tournament every season, winning the 1998 national championship. But the Wildcats have not been back to the Final Four since. This season's team, which finished 22-12 overall and 9-7 in the SEC, had more Kentucky fans calling for Smith's ouster.
Earlier this month, before the Wildcats played their first-round NCAA Tournament game, Barnhart issued a statement supporting Smith, saying "Tubby's our basketball coach."
But Barnhart also said that he and Smith would sit down after the season to discuss potential changes -- and declined to say whether any of Smith's assistants might be replaced.
Gonzaga coach Mark Few and Notre Dame's Mike Brey are expected to be candidates to replace Smith.
Meanwhile, while watching the defending national champion Gators practice in St. Louis in preparation for their Sweet 16 game against Butler on Friday, Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley did not seem particularly concerned if Kentucky pursues coach Billy Donovan.
When asked whether he expected Kentucky to contact Donovan, Foley replied, "It's a free world. There's nothing to prevent them from doing that."
"We're trying to win an NCAA championship. He's our coach and he's been tremendously loyal for a long time. That's all I'm going to say about it."
Donovan and Foley have been discussing a contract extension but have not agreed to one. Foley said he expected it to get done