U leak shows how not to fire a ‘great human being’

There are plenty of people who are upset that the University of Minnesota men’s basketball team fell on its face this season, but you’d have to be cold-hearted not to feel bad for the way coach Tubby Smith was fired.

At his news conference late this afternoon, U of M athletic director Norwood Teague confirmed that he didn’t tell Smith he was being fired until this afternoon, hours after someone at the U leaked the news to the media.

“Everything leaks. you don’t …that’s just the way it is,” Teague said. Nobody asked the obvious follow-up question.

He didn’t offer an apology for the leak, however, shortly after making it clear that he feels Smith is “a great human being.”

Once Teague made his move, it raced around among U officials before Smith got the word.

Based on Teague’s indicated timetable, it appears that Board of Regents chair Linda Cohen was the first U official to confirm the firing. She says she got a call from the university president at 8 this morning saying the firing would take place today. Cohen’s confirmation, however, came well after someone with a pipeline to a CBS sports reporter in New York had already passed along the tip.

  • David G

    I was once told I was laid off at a lab meeting, in front of the entire lab when the PI announced a grant renewal had been rejected.

  • Bob Collins

    I knew a guy in radio who found out he was fired while taking a shower, getting ready to go to work. He was listening to his own radio station and he heard the announcer promo’ing someone else for his show.

  • Dimitri Drekonja

    Yeah, the classy thing to do would be to ensure that the coach gets notified first. But, the 2.5 million dollar payment on the way out (4 times the annual salary of the guy firing him) probably takes a bit of the sting out of it.

    I feel worse about the fact that it’s apparently a given that the 2 highest-paid employees at most big schools are the football coach and the men’s basketball coach.

    The U is looking for a new dean for the medical school; I’m guessing their contract won’t have a 2.5 million buyout in it…

  • Eric Larson

    I was fired from the U of M in a lunchroom of 50 people. There was a single piece of paper on a clipboard that was passed around the room. It was titled, “List of Employees Retained.” I guess I was lucky it wasn’t public!

  • http://loloflargenumbers.com Kikapp

    I wouldn’t say he got fired. Getting paid millions of dollars to not come to work is something else. The average family would have to work decades to earn the type of cash he’s getting paid to not work.

    Permanent paid vacation, maybe?