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Kyle Smith Named Columbia Head Men's Basketball Coach

Sunday, May 02, 2010


Courtesy: Columbia Athletics Sports Information/Media Relations

NEW YORK - Kyle Smith has been named Columbia University's head men's basketball coach, Dr. M. Dianne Murphy, Director of Intercollegiate Athletics and Physical Education, announced today.

Smith, who is an 18-year veteran assistant coach at the NCAA Division I level, has worked as the associate head men's basketball coach at St. Mary's College (Ca.) of the West Coast Conference (WCC), for the past nine seasons. At St. Mary's, he has played an integral role in building their successful men's basketball program. In 2009-10, the Gaels finished 28-6 and reached the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament.

"Columbia University is very proud and excited to name Kyle Smith as our head men's basketball coach," said Dr. Murphy. "Kyle is an outstanding leader and successful recruiter with a terrific basketball mind. We are thrilled to welcome him to Columbia."

Smith becomes the 22nd head coach in the 110-year history of Columbia men's basketball. He replaces Joe Jones, who left Columbia earlier this year after seven seasons (86-108, 39-59 Ivy League) to become the associate head men's basketball coach at Boston College of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC).

"I am very excited to be the next head men's basketball coach at Columbia, one of the nation's premier universities," says Smith. "I am very grateful to Dr. M. Dianne Murphy and President Lee C. Bollinger for this tremendous opportunity. I look forward to the challenge of building an Ivy League championship men's basketball program at Columbia."

When Smith arrived at St. Mary's (Ca.) in 2001, the team had won only two games in the previous season. Over the past three years, the school has won 81 games. As the associate head coach of the Gaels, he was responsible for running the team's offense, and coordinating all recruiting activities. He was a vital component of the coaching staff that saw the Gaels ascend into the Top-25 this year.

"He will be very successful," says Randy Bennett, the head coach at St. Mary's College (Ca.). "He has been a huge part of what we've done [at St. Mary's]. It's been he and I together - it's been like having a Co-coach."

Smith takes over a Columbia men's basketball team that finished 11-17 (5-9 Ivy League) in 2009-10. The Lions return their leading scorer, rising junior Noruwa Agho (16.3 pts/gm), who was named second-team All-Ivy League and third-team all-Metropolitan Area last year.
"We are committed to excellence in men's basketball at Columbia," remarks Murphy. "We have the utmost confidence that Kyle Smith will build and sustain a high-achieving men's basketball program on Morningside Heights."

Smith is a 1992 graduate of Hamilton College, where he played basketball, and helped lead the Continentals to a 26-1 record and a #1 ranking in NCAA Division III during his junior season. He holds a master's degree in Educational Leadership from the University of San Diego, where he began his coaching career. He and his wife, Katie, will relocate to New York City with their son, Rocco