Billy Tubbs was quite a character. He once was accused of running up the score on a weak opponent and said not to would be point shaving. He also had a vocal resemblance to actor Jack Nicholson that he played with from time to time.
From 1980 to 1994, he turned Oklahoma into a significant national power, making the championship game in 1988.
He was funny too. In one game the referees asked Tubbs to ask the crowd to behave so he took the mic and told the crowd that “[t]he referees request that regardless of how terrible the officiating is, do not throw stuff on the floor.”
It got him T’d up but the Oklahoma crowd ate it up.
Born in St. Louis in 1935, when fellow St. Louis native Chuck Berry was nine, if he had been born 100 years earlier, you get the sense that Tubbs would have been a figure of some importance as Missouri had its own Civil War during the bigger one (we could be wrong but we think it was in Missouri that one governor had to flee and the other side installed a replacement).
He was also a pretty good foil for Duke and Mike Krzyzewski.
Coach K has always had a great sense of humor, but other than profanity, he’s very straight-laced.
He skirted the rules on occasion and loved the attention. He was a real showman. Duke and Oklahoma had a couple of very good games when these guys were both coaching, including one in Norman that Duke won 90-85.
Later in the season, Duke would get a Final Four rematch with UNLV and win its first national championship. It’s nice to look back and see how the team started to come together early in the season.