Georgetown, KY – Tubby Smith – a man with a reputation for character-building and a coach appreciated by Kentucky basketball fans of almost every stripe – will tip-off Year 2 of Billy Reed’s “Conversations with Champions” as a slam-dunk to pack John L. Hill Chapel. This free, “fireside chat” event with the former UK basketball coach and current University of Minnesota head man will begin at 7:30 p.m., September 26.
“Tubby Smith is one of the finest gentlemen and best basketball coaches I’ve ever been around,” said Reed, who took on a role as a Georgetown College Executive Scholar-in-Residence a year ago to crusade for bringing character, ethics and integrity back to collegiate athletics. “He’s living proof that it’s possible to do things the right way and still win championships.”
Smith left the University of Georgia to return to UK for the 1997-98 season when Rick Pitino left for the NBA and he coached the Cats to a second NCAA crown in three years. He was an assistant at UK (1989-91) when Pitino had the challenge of resurrecting a Wildcat program that was reeling from NCAA probation and player defections.
He left UK in 2007 for the challenge of turning the struggling Minnesota program around. His Golden Gophers have won at least 20 games the past three seasons and made the NCAA tournament two of those years.
Reed, who this summer begins his second year as the College’s second Executive Scholar-in- Residence (former Kentucky Gov. Martha Layne Collins, who is still in residence, was the first), nearly has the 2011-12 “Conversations with Champions” booked. So far, other expected guests are horseman Seth Hancock, who syndicated Secretariat for a record $6 million in ’72; multi Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper editor John Carroll, whose Lexington Herald-Leader won the ’86 award for its investigation of UK basketball transgressions; UK football coach Joker Phillips; and author and adventurer Tori Murden-McClure, the first woman to row alone across the Atlantic and now Vice President for External Relations, Enrollment Management, and Student Affairs at Spalding University in Louisville.
All of Reed’s “Conversations with Champions” in 2010-11 were filmed for airing on Kentucky Educational Television. His guests were former University of Kentucky athletic director C.M. Newton, who once chaired the NCAA rules committee; former University of Louisville and NBA basketball star Junior Bridgeman, now a successful businessman and member of the PGA board of directors; “Madame Butterfly” Mary T. Meagher, the swimming star of the 1984 Olympics; sports marketing legend Jim Host, current chairman of the Louisville Arena Authority; NBC sportscaster Tom Hammond, host of thoroughbred racing’s Triple Crown and the network’s coverage of Olympic track and field, and ice skating; and Hall of Fame jockeys Pat Day and Chris McCarron.
Reed heads up the College’s new Academy for Character in Sport, which will be seeking public involvement to be truly successful in changing the culture. An acclaimed sports journalist formerly with the Louisville Courier-Journal and senior writer for Sports Illustrated, he will also hold a Sports Journalism Workshop for high school juniors and seniors August 8-10. Follow Reed’s blog and more at http://acs.georgetowncollege.edu