High Point's Tubby Smith returning to Rupp Arena on Dec. 31 for first time since Kentucky coaching days

Tubby Smith is heading back to Rupp Arena for the first time since leaving Kentucky nearly 15 years ago.

Kentucky announced Monday it would host Smith's High Point team for a nonconference game on New Year's Eve, marking the first time Smith will be back at the school he led to a national championship in 1998.

Wildcats head coach John Calipari announced the game via Twitter.

Smith was in charge of the Wildcats for 10 years, from 1997 to 2007. He guided the Wildcats to five SEC regular-season championships and five conference tournament titles in addition to the national title. Smith, who also spent two years as an assistant coach at Kentucky from 1989 to 1991, won 76% of his games with the Wildcats before resigning in 2007 and taking over at Minnesota.

Smith was elected to the UK Athletics Hall of Fame in 2013.

He has been at High Point since 2018, going 34-53 in his three seasons with the Panthers.