March 20, 2006
BEAUMONT - Billy Tubbs, who has spent 31 seasons as a head coach, will no longer serve as Lamar University's basketball coach but will focus on his role as Director of Athletics, Tubbs announced Monday.
Tubbs, whose return to his alma mater in May 2002 delighted Lamar fans, took over as the Cardinals' basketball coach in March 2003 while continuing as the Director of Athletics.
In 31 years of coaching, Tubbs has compiled a sparkling 641-340 (.653) career record, including a 121-89 record in seven years at Lamar. He has guided 12 teams to NCAA Tournament appearances, six National Invitation Tournament appearances, eight conference championships, three conference tournament championships and 18 20-win seasons. His 641 wins ranks 34th all-time in NCAA history.
"I enjoyed coaching at Lamar the past three years and appreciate the hard work the players put in to making the program better," Tubbs said. "I really appreciated the support from the alumni and fans. I am confident that the program will continue to move forward.
"This will allow me to get back to doing the job (athletics director) I came back to Lamar to do in the first place."
Tubbs achieved many coaching milestones during his coaching career. He became the ninth coach in NCAA history to record 100 wins at three different schools (Oklahoma 333, TCU 156 and Lamar 121). He became the 28th coach in NCAA Division I history to record 600 wins in Lamar's 79-67 win over Texas Southern during the 2003-04 season.
Having built a reputation of rebuilding programs, Tubbs turned around the Cardinals program in just his second year back on the sidelines. He guided Lamar to an 18-11 record, a seven-game improvement from the previous season. The Cardinals won at Texas-San Antonio in the first round of the Southland Conference Tournament before losing to top-seeded Northwestern State in the semifinals.
Lamar posted a 17-14 record this season. The Cardinals won at Southeastern Louisiana in the first round of the SLC Tournament before having their season end at the hands of the top-seeded Demons for the second straight season.
Tubbs gained national recognition in his first coaching stint at Lamar, guiding the Cardinals to three straight SLC regular season titles and to their first NCAA Tournament appearance in 1979. Lamar upset No. 17-ranked Detroit before losing to eventual National Champion Michigan State in the second round.
A year later, the Cardinals posted a 22-11 record, won another SLC title and advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament with wins over Weber State and No. 5-ranked Oregon State before losing to Clemson. The win over Oregon State is still the highest ranked team Lamar has beaten in school history.
Tubbs left Lamar following the 1980 season to take the coaching job at Oklahoma. He led the Sooners to the NCAA Tournament championship game in 1988 and posted a 333-132 (.716) record in 14 years. He took OU to nine NCAA Tournaments and four NITs during his tenure, including a streak of six straight "Sweet 16" appearances from 1985-90.
Prior to his return to Lamar, Tubbs coached eight years at TCU, where he guided the Horned Frogs to a 156-95 (.622) record. He took TCU to one NCAA Tournament and two NIT appearances.
Tubbs began his head coaching career at Southwestern University, where he posted a 31-24 (.564) record over two years.
Born in St. Louis, Mo. and raised in Tulsa, Okla., Tubbs was a two-year letterman at Lamar for Coach Jack Martin. He began his coaching career as Martin's assistant coach from 1960-71. He played two seasons at Lon Morris College before coming to Lamar.
Billy Tubbs' 641 career wins ranks as the 34th most in NCAA history.