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Take the call

SPECIAL TO ESPN.COM

March 20, 2007

If I was Michigan athletic director Bill Martin, I would place a call to Lexington, Kentucky and see if I could interview Tubby Smith for my basketball head coaching vacancy.

If I was Tubby Smith, I would want to take that phone call.

It is amazing to me to hear the Kentucky fans and boosters complain about Tubby Smith. This man deserves better. All he has done is win a national championship and average over 26 wins per season. He leads the Wildcats to the NCAA tournament every season, and this is still one of the proud programs in America.

Yet that doesn't seem good enough for some fans.

I feel Kentucky has some of the most caring, passionate fans in college basketball. Rupp Arena is a special place and it really was rocking and rolling when I was there for the Florida game earlier this season.

Tubby and Donna Smith have taken enough from the fans; they should not have to put up with any more. Did Tubby really need a vote of confidence? He should not have.

A man who wins eight out of every 10 games does not deserve to be treated with abuse. We will have to wait and see what happens, but Mr. Martin, get the cash out and consider making a serious offer for Smith to go to Michigan. Maybe it is time to leave Lexington. Tubby, you have earned the right to do whatever you want.

I have all the respect in the world for Tubby Smith.

Dick Vitale coached the Pistons and the University of Detroit before broadcasting ESPN's first college basketball game in December 1979. Send him a question for possible use on ESPNEWS.