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Reports: Arkansas Close To Hiring Smith

Could Tubby Smith be close to taking over his third SEC program? 

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported this afternoon that Smith has already had a face-to-face meeting with Arkansas officials.  Mike Jones writes that Arkansas “is close to hiring” Minnesota’s coach. 

Jones reports that Billy Gillispie “has also had informal contact” about the Arkansas job.  Perhaps Jeff Long should give Joe B. Hall a ring to see if he’d be interested.

Smith coached at Kentucky prior to Gillispie, of course.  And he coached at Georgia prior to Kentucky.

If Smith lands the job quickly, it will tell us one thing for sure: Arkansas and Smith (or their reps) had made contact before John Pelphrey was shown the door yesterday morning.  Interestingly, ESPN.com reported just last week that Smith and Minnesota were working on an extension “despite speculation he could take another job after the season.”

If those talks didn’t go as well as Smith had hoped, the coach might be using Arkansas as a landing pad… or as a fire-rekindler for his negotiations with the Gophers.

When asked about Georgia Tech’s coaching vacancy last week, Smith said: “Why would I be interested in that job?  I’m not going anywhere.  My wife like it here, I like it here, and I’m going to finish my career here.”

Does that sound like a man who’s thisclose to moving to Fayetteville?

Smith might not be the sexiest hire for Hogs fans.  His team finished 17-14 this year (6-12 in the Big Ten) including a streak of 10 losses in 11 games to close out the year.

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