The Kentucky basketball program will retire a jersey in the honor of Tubby Smith in December, the program announced on Tuesday. Smith, the legendary former UK coach, led the program to a 263-83 record in 10 seasons and won a national championship with the team in 1998. A ceremony will be held Dec. 31 when Smith's High Point team faces Kentucky in Lexington.
Smith was inducted into the UK Athletics Hall of Fame in 2013, but he was not eligible for jersey retirement until 2018. He will be just the 44th retired jersey to hang in the rafters at Rupp Arena alongside fellow national championship coaches Adolph Rupp, Joe B. Hall and Rick Pitino.
"That's very humbling," Smith said on a Zoom call when informed by UK of his jersey retirement. "I'm certainly grateful to have had the opportunity to lead that program. Some wonderful people there, wonderful fans. You can't find better people. They have a passion for the game, not just basketball but for the Wildcats, period. Thank you for doing that. We're looking forward to it."
In his 10 seasons with Kentucky, Smith coached the team to at least 22 wins in each season. In that span, the Wildcats won five regular-season SEC titles, five SEC Tournament titles and never missed the NCAA Tournament.
"Tubby and I have been friends for years," John Calipari said. "He is so deserving of this honor. He won big here and he did it with class. Tubby impacted so many people in and around this program and he is loved by the players who played for him and by this fan base. I can't wait to see his banner raised."