By Marty Gordon
First-year Radford University men’s basketball coach Darris Nichols is in hot water with the Big South Conference. Nichols has been reprimanded for a violation of the League’s Ethical Conduct Policy in publicly criticizing the officiating following the Feb. 9 Radford game at Winthrop.
On the court, the team has had a rough first-year season under the former Radford High School and West Virginia University point guard. The Highlanders are 9-16 overall and 5-8 in Big South play.
The Nichols news comes on the same day as another major coaching change in the conference. Longtime Kentucky coach Tubby Smith has resigned his High Point University coaching position effective immediately after contracting COVID-19 for the second time.
Smith said he felt that after contracting COVID 19 for a second time in less than a year and having been away from the program for an extended period that the timing was right for this change,
“I feel blessed to have had an amazing career leading, coaching, and teaching great young men at first-class institutions,” he said.
Associate head coach G.G. Smith, Tubby’s son, will take over the team for the remainder of the season and will serve as head coach in 2022-2023.
Tubby Smith will remain involved with the school through the end of the season with alumni, community engagement, and fundraising efforts, according to a release from High Point University.
He was an assistant at Kentucky from 1989-1991 before he got his first coaching job at Tulsa. After four seasons there, he coached at Georgia for two years before returning to Kentucky, going 263-83 in 10 years, winning five SEC titles, five SEC tournaments, and a 1998 NCAA title.
Tubby Smith currently holds an overall 642-369 mark including 11-15 this year at High Point.
Smith came to High Point University as a student in 1969. Soon after, Smith found his place on the men’s basketball team and earned a reputation as a hard worker and a natural leader.
Smith captained the basketball team and earned all-conference honors as a senior before graduating from High Point in 1973.
In the spring of 2018, High Point University announced that Tubby Smith would return to lead the men’s basketball program.