Behind The Scenes At Tubby Smith's 500th (Video)

Saturday night, University of Minnesota Golden Gophers coach Tubby Smith notched career victory number 500, in a 71-57 romp over the USC Trojans in Los Angeles. Smith now becomes the eighteenth active Division I coach to be enshrined in this illustrious fraternity of sideline men. The Maryland native still stands more than 430 victories behind legendary Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, who became the sport's all-time winningest coach last season.    

The above original video shows the energized 61-year-old Gopher coach leaving the Galen Center locker room, near the conclusion of halftime. During his sojourn back to the bench, the still mustached coach (prostate cancer survivor grew facial hair for “Movember” charity) acknowledged our camera, as he stood 20 minutes shy of history.

In addition, here is original video of Tubby and his son Saul saying hello to a young man behind the bench, during pregame introductions.   

Prior to his arrival in the Twin Cities, Smith's ascension to 500 involved successful stints at Tulsa, the University of Georgia and of course, the school he is most synonymous with leading, the incomparable University of Kentucky Wildcats.

Smith's 10-year Lexington existence included an NCAA championship (1998), three Elite Eight and two Sweet Sixteen appearances. All told, the High Point University alum, racked up an outstanding 263-83 record, while at the same time winning five SEC regular season and tournament championships.

At 99 percent of the universities in this country, a resume of this nature would be rewarded with a lifetime contract and perhaps even the dedication of a building or basketball court in the beloved coach's honor. But in the spoiled world of Kentucky basketball, nine whole years without a national title meant continual scorn and disgust, from a fan base whose level of expectation is not actually planted in reality.    

So, in a surprise 2007 move, Smith abruptly resigned from his UK duties and headed north to takeover a program whose fans were simply looking to compete in the upper half of the Big Ten, with the hope of just making the NCAA Tournament on a semi consistent basis. Minnesota's lone Final Four appearance (1997) was later vacated due to an academic fraud scandal. Prior to the also vacated '97 conference title, the Gophers last won the Big Ten championship way back in 1982.

Tubby's tenure in the Twin Cities has been what can be characterized as a mixed bag. While his record sits at more than 40 games above .500, he has only reached the NCAA's twice and on each occasion, his squad was unable to advance past the first round.

This season, coming off a second place finish in the NIT, the thirteenth ranked Gophers provide the coach with his most athletic team in years. After a couple seasons of running in place, Smith and his U of M program have once again galvanized a loyal, but recently disheartened fan base.

Take a look at an original video clip of this year's roster huddling up, outside the Galen Center tunnel, as the team prepares to take the hardwood for the second half of their Trojan beat down.