May 25, 2010 9:14 PM
Former UK coach Tubby Smith spent almost seven hours over the last two days testifying in a Minnesota courtroom. He and the University of Minnesota are being sued for undisclosed damages by Jimmy Williams, who claims Smith hired him as an assistant coach and then it never happened.
The Star-Tribune was in the courtroom and what true blue fans will find most interesting, is how John Calipari's name was brought up during the questionning.
Here is the article by Rochelle Olsen.
Under cross-examination Tuesday from the lawyer for would-be assistant coach Jimmy Williams, University of Minnesota basketball coach Tubby Smith showed a flash of temper when asked whether he had a duty to people who rely on what he says.
"They have an obligation to me, to give me the full facts. That is what he had an obligation to do," Smith said, pointing at Williams.
Williams claims Smith hired him to be an assistant in a 14-minute phone conversation on the evening of April 2, 2007. Smith said the deal was never final.
Williams wasn't hired after Athletic Director Joel Maturi and Smith learned of prior NCAA violations during Williams' tenure under former Gophers coaches Bill Musselman and Jim Dutcher in the 1970s and 1980s.
A Hennepin County trial in his lawsuit against Smith and the university entered its eighth day with the head coach again on the stand under questioning from Williams' lawyer Donald Chance Mark Jr.
Mark pressed Smith, "You're telling the jury you didn't have the full facts?"
Smith said, "That's exactly right."
Williams testified again shortly after Smith, saying he was honest about his past and was not looking to leave Oklahoma State when Smith called. "I had no reason to conceal anything," Williams said, adding that on April 2, "When Coach Smith called, he was really excited. He said, 'We'll make a great team. I got the money you requested.' If any one says it's different, they're lying."
Williams said Smith also told him repeatedly that he would be a great mentor for his son Saul Smith, an assistant at the U. "If he would have told the truth, we would have never been in this courtroom," Williams said of Smith.
The head coach was on the witness stand for nearly seven hours over two days and for most of it he was direct and calm, occasionally smiling at jurors.
Mark asked Smith how he would feel if he was offered a job and saw it taken away. Smith said, "It would make me feel pretty bad."
The lawyer asked Smith about the quote, "You never promise more than you can deliver, but you always keep your promise."
Smith responded, "I want to deliver on my promises."
Mark asked Smith if he recognized the quote as his own from a high school graduation speech in northern Minnesota in 2009. "That was last year," Smith said.
Mark said, "Indeed it was."
Smith was unable to recall. "I give a lot of speeches ... I spoke to them, I probably did say that," he said.
Mark noted that after the April 2, 2007 conversation with Smith, Williams gave up his job as an assistant coach at Oklahoma State and sold his house. "Either he is a fool or he was offered a job on April 2, isn't that true?"
Smith's lawyer, Brian Slovut, objected and the coach didn't answer the question.
Slovut then asked Smith, "Did you ever offer a job to Jimmy Williams?" Smith glared at Williams and said, "No, I did not."
Mark asked Smith about the current head coach at the University of Kentucky, a job Smith held for 10 years before coming to the university. He noted that John Calipari had NCAA violations while a college coach at Massachusetts and at Memphis -- as recently as 2008. "You don't attribute those being detrimental to his career," Mark said. "You're not holding it against him?"
Smith said, "No."
Finally, he asked Smith whether he had a "great opportunity" to bring Williams on staff at the U. Smith said, "No."
"You don't see it that way at all?" Mark said.
Smith said, "No."
After closing arguments Tuesday afternoon, the jury is expected to begin deliberations. Williams is seeking unspecified damages.
Rochelle Olsen - Star-Tribune