So naturally, when Smith became available he was grabbed up. Minnesota fired him after the Gophers lost in the second round of the NCAA tournament. It must have been five minutes later that Texas Tech called him because within a week he was the Red Raiders' coach.
"It's just good to be wanted,'' Smith said.
Actually Smith, 62, hadn't planned to land anywhere that quickly. He knew he would have opportunities and he wanted to weigh them. Tech, though, just seemed too good to pass up.
"They have a need there and they want some stability and some continuity,'' Smith said. "I was impressed with the facilities. The United Spirit Arena is a beautiful facility. Certainly they've had a tough time at Texas Tech. They've had some lean years over the last few years, so we felt like coming in there we could restore some pride and prestige to the program.''
Tech was a combined 19-43 the last two years under Billy Gillespie and Chris Walker.
And finally, West Virginia coach Bob Huggins arrived for media day wearing a dark sweater with a large WV sewn on it, very much the classic-style letterman's sweater.
"Really good looking, isn't it?'' Huggins cracked. "I figured I'd be the Max Good of the Big 12. I was in the [Ohio Valley Conference] with Max and every year he'd come in with an entirely different look. So I just figured I'd do it.''
Good is the coach at Loyola Marymount now. He coached at Eastern Kentucky in the OVC when Huggins was at Akron.
As much as anything, though, the sweater, Huggins said, "will be something for you to write about.''
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.
Big 12 men's basketball preseason coaches poll
(First-place votes in parentheses)
Rank, school Points
1. Kansas (5) 77
1. Oklahoma State (5) 77
3. Baylor 63
4. Iowa State 56
5. Kansas State 43
5. Oklahoma 43
7. West Virginia 35
8. Texas 30
9. Texas Tech 14
10. TCU 12