Tubby Smith is heading back to Rupp Arena for the first time since leaving Kentucky nearly 15 years ago.
Kentucky announced Monday it would host Smith’s High Point team for a nonconference game on New Year’s Eve, marking the first time Smith will be back at the school he led to a national championship in 1998.
Wildcats head coach John Calipari announced the game via Twitter.
On Dec. 31 we are going to host @HPUMBB and welcome back @CoachTubbySmith in @Rupp_Arena for the first time since his days as our coach. We are working on some ways to honor Tubby and his time here and I can’t wait to fill in the #BBN in the near future.
— John Calipari (@UKCoachCalipari) August 30, 2021
Smith was in charge of the Wildcats for 10 years, from 1997-2007. He led Kentucky to the national title in 1998, while also guiding the Wildcats to five SEC regular-season championships and five conference tournament titles. Smith, who also spent two years as an assistant coach at Kentucky from 1989-1991, won 76% of his games with the Wildcats before resigning in 2007 and taking over at Minnesota.
Smith was elected to the UK Athletics Hall of Fame in 2013.
He has been at High Point since 2018, going 34-53 in his three seasons with the Panthers.