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.