HIGH POINT, N.C. — High Point University President Dr. Nido Qubein made two major announcements today inside the Hayworth Fine Arts Center. He announced the hiring of Hall of Famer Orlando ‘Tubby’ Smith as the Panthers’ head coach for men’s basketball, as well as the location of the future Nido and Mariana Qubein Arena, Conference Center and Hotel.
“Tubby Smith is a nationally admired, transformational coach whose career brings honor to his alma mater as a distinguished alumnus,” Qubein said. “HPU’s path of excellence anchored by stellar faculty, innovative academic programs, new schools, and teaching facilities is leading the way towards a promising future for students from all over the world. We are excited to welcome both Tubby and Donna back home to HPU.”
“It is a great honor and privilege to return to my alma mater as the next head basketball coach at High Point University,” Smith said. “My wife, Donna, and I have been very impressed with the transformation the University has taken under the leadership of Dr. Nido Qubein and look forward to coming back to a place so near and dear to our hearts.”
The $130 million Qubein Arena, Conference Center and Hotel will be located along Lexington Avenue between Panther Drive and University Parkway, allowing the central campus to continue to be the main hub of activity for students, staff, faculty and the community. The university owns all land associated with the site.
“High Point University continues to grow in impactful ways, and these facilities will benefit both HPU and the city of High Point measurably for generations to come,” Qubein said.
In athletics, HPU has won 16 conference regular season or tournament championships in four year’s under Athletic Director Dan Hauser’s guidance.
About the Nido and Mariana Qubein Arena, Conference Center and Hotel:
The HPU Board of Trustees proposed and unanimously voted to name the facility the Nido and Mariana Qubein Arena, Conference Center and Hotel in the Qubein family’s honor. Nido Qubein became the seventh president of HPU in 2005 and has since led a total transformation of High Point University’s academics, campus and culture.
The Nido and Mariana Qubein Arena, Conference Center and Hotel will become the home of HPU’s men’s and women’s basketball programs, as well as a venue for major events, speakers, concerts, entertainment, academic symposia, and recreational activities.
It will include:
• $100 million total cost for arena, conference center and hotel
• 4,500 arena seats
• Features include suites, locker rooms, staff offices, concession stands, a merchandising area, media suite, film room, press conference room, weight room, athletic training room, hospitality area, high tech audio and video equipment, ticket office and practice gym
• 2,500 conference center seats
• A small, executive hotel will be located adjacent to the conference center to support a proposed hospitality management program and accommodate a growing number of requests by organizations who specifically want to tour the campus and experience HPU’s unique educational environment and culture.
About Tubby Smith:
Smith, who becomes the 12th head men’s basketball coach in HPU history, joins the Panthers after serving as the head coach at Memphis for two seasons. An all-conference standout for High Point College from 1969-73, Smith coached Kentucky to the 1998 national championship and is one of two head coaches to guide five different programs to the NCAA Division I Tournament (Tulsa, Georgia, Kentucky, Minnesota and Texas Tech).
Smith has been named National Coach of the Year three times (2003, 2005, 2016), conference coach of the year six times (1994, 1995, 1998, 2003, 2005, 2016) and was honored with the John R. Wooden Legends of Coaching Award in 2016. In 2000, Smith was an assistant coach on Rudy Tomjanovich’s staff that led the United States to Olympic gold.
Smith has made 20 postseason appearances as a head coach, including nine Sweet Sixteen and four Elite Eight trips. Smith has mentored 18 student-athletes who have gone on to play in the NBA, including 13 NBA draft picks. In 27 seasons at six schools, Smith has amassed a combined record of 597-302 (.664).
Smith, a native of Scotland, Md., started his coaching career at Great Mills High School, his high school alma mater, in Great Mills, Md., before moving to Hoke County High School in Raeford, N.C. He had three assistant coach stops at VCU, South Carolina and Kentucky before earning his first Division I head coaching job at Tulsa in 1991.
Smith led Tulsa to a pair of Sweet Sixteen appearances in 1994 and 1995 before moving to Georgia where he accumulated a 45-19 record in two seasons. In 1997, Smith went back to Kentucky, this time as the head coach, and led the Wildcats to the 1998 national championship. He secured a 262-83 record with five Sweet Sixteen trips and 10 NCAA Tournament appearances in 10 seasons.
Smith also was the head coach at Minnesota for six seasons and turned around a fledgling program at Texas Tech in three seasons before moving to Memphis in 2016.
The former Panther standout was inducted into the High Point University Athletics Hall of Fame in 2016. In 2013, Smith was inducted into the University of Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame.
Smith comes to High Point University in a time of great transformation. Since 2005, enrollment has more than tripled and grown from three to eight academic schools. The US. News & World Report ranked HPU the Best College and the Most Innovative College in the South and the Princeton Review included HPU among its Best 382 Colleges in the Nation.
Inside the Qubein Arena, Conference Center and Hotel will be the Tubby and Donna Smith Court, a symbol of the Smith family’s generosity and stewardship to the University.
Tubby Smith By the Numbers
• 27 seasons as Division I head coach – 597-302 (664) overall record
• 3x National Coach of the Year
• AP College Coach of the Year (2003)
• Naismith College Coach of the Year (2003)
• NABC Coach of the Year (2003)
• Henry Iba Award (2003)
• Jim Phelan Award (2005)
• Sporting News National Coach of the Year (2016)
• 6x Conference Coach of the Year
• 2× MVC Coach of the Year (1994, 1995)
• 3× SEC Coach of the Year (1998, 2003, 2005)
• Big 12 Coach of the Year (2016)
• John R. Wooden Legends of Coaching Award (2016)
• 1998 NCAA Championship with Kentucky
• 3 NCAA Elite Eight appearances
• 9 NCAA Sweet Sixteen appearances
• 18 NCAA Tournament appearances
• 20 postseason tournament appearances
• 7x Conference Regular Season Championships
• 5x SEC regular season titles (1998, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2005)
• 2x MVC regular season titles (1994, 1995)
• 5x SEC Tournament Championships (1998, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2004)