Winter 2008
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TCU Magazine "Riff Ram"

Other articles:
TCU women shoot for repeat--More than just a dream--Four! weeks in the top spot

End of an era

There are a lot of things one could say about the irascible Billy Tubbs. Unsuccessful is not one of them.

There are a lot of things one could say about the irascible Billy Tubbs. Unsuccessful is not one of them. When Billy Tubbs arrived at TCU in 1994, he was known as "a man who builds college basketball programs." In 14 prior campaigns, Tubbs had a record that included a dozen 20-game winning seasons, four Big Eight Conference titles, five trips to the NCAA's Sweet Sixteen, three more to the Elite Eight and one to the final championship game.

He promised then his team would ". . . play hard every minute of the game." He promised Billyball.

Eight years later Tubbs announced he's leaving TCU for undetermined new adventures, but not before he does his best to finish this season in raucous Billy-style. At a November press conference, Tubbs said he is still "fired up about coaching this team."

"I will serve this year out to the very best of my ability," he said. "I am very excited about this team."

The Frogs enjoyed their winningest season (27-6) in 1998 under Tubbs' watch -- earning their first NCAA tournament berth in 11 years. They also scored a perfect 14-0 record in the WAC and finished with a 27-6 record and a final ranking of 15th in the Associated Press poll that season. They led the nation in scoring in 1995 (93.7) and again last year (93.6).

Tubbs leaves the team with its best seven-year stretch in history, going 140-80; winning one regular season WAC Division title; and qualifying for a school record of three consecutive postseason tournaments.

Despite leaving the university, Tubbs believes in his team. "These young players have great futures and will be a great foundation for TCU basketball," he said. "I have always left programs in good shape, and I believe that TCU will be no different."

And Bingo is his name-o

And this crowd pleaser is expected to lead the team on the court.

It didn't take long for junior Bingo Merriex to contribute to the TCU basketball program. As a true freshman, the three-point specialist played a key role in victories over the likes of SMU and Fresno State last year. His big smile, hustle and enthusiasm for the game made him an instant crowd favorite at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum as the band struck up the Bingo song when he scored.

He might be some of the flash this year, but he won't carry the team alone. Along with seven returning lettermen, starter Nucleus Smith (who can play point or off guard) is expected to continue last year's performance when he averaged 6.9 points on 51.5 percent shooting, all while dishing out 57 assists and picking up 33 steals.

And as usual, it will be Billyball at its best as Tubbs chases 21 wins toward membership to the elusive 600 career win club, a mark only 35 other coaches have reached.