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Former TCU Basketball coach Billy Tubbs has passed away

The OU and TCU legend was 85.

Billy Tubbs TCU

The college basketball world lost a legend Sunday, when former TCU and Oklahoma basketball coach Billy Tubbs passed away.

Tubbs was a fiery tactician who led the Sooners to the National Title game in 1988, the highest achievement in a career full of them. He compiled a 333–132 record at Oklahoma, taking the Sooners to the NCAA Tournament nine times, earning four Big Eight regular season crowns, and winning two conference tournament titles.

He left Norman for Fort Worth in 1994, spending eight years helming the Horned Frogs, putting them on the national map and snapping an 11 year tournament drought at TCU, taking the program to the NCAA Tournament in 1998 after going 14-0 in the WAC. He became the school’s winningest coach in eight seasons at TCU, going 156-95, and finished with a career winning percentage above 65%.

Known for his run and shoot offense, dubbed “Billy Ball”, Tubbs’s antics on the sideline made games true events. He loved to run up the score, making games fun for fans, and turning TCU into a basketball school at a time when the football program was truly terrible. Tubbs recruited and developed future NBA players Kurt Thomas and Lee Nailon before resigning in 2002 citing “disagreements” with the new administration. He finished his career where it started, at Lamar, retiring from coaching in 2006.

As a student at TCU in Tubbs’ heyday, I vividly remember attending games and how much harder it was to get into Daniel Meyer Coliseum than it was Amon Carter back then. Basketball was fun and football was still years from mattering. Tubbs was an energetic guy full of personality, and one of the first TCU coaches of the modern era to develop a following. He paved the way for the success to come, even if it would be two decades before the NCAA Tournament dream would be realized once again.

Tubbs’ family released the following statement via Oklahoma Athletics:

Former Frog basketball star Lee Nailon chimed in on twitter as well:

Tubbs entered hospice care earlier in the week near Lake Texoma on the Texas-Oklahoma border.