USF head men’s basketball coach Kyle Smith is reportedly headed to Washington State

USF head men’s basketball coach Kyle Smith is reportedly headed to Washington State

After leading USF to 63 wins in his first three seasons, Kyle Smith is reportedly taking a Pac-12 job

After guiding the University of San Francisco men’s basketball team to an unprecedented 63 wins in his first three seasons at the helm, head coach Kyle Smith is reportedly heading to Washington State, according to Jon Rothstein of Sports Illustrated.

On Friday, Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson stumped publically for Smith’s hiring at his alma mater. One day later, Smith was interviewing with the Cougars, according to a source with knowledge of the situation. Shortly thereafter, he was offered the job.

“Kyle at USF is doing a great job,” Thompson said after shootaround last Thursday. “I recommend him for an interview. Every program he’s been at, he’s turned around. USF was really good this year, and they beat some Pac-10 schools. I think he’d be a great candidate.”

Smith, 49, had begun to build something special with the Dons, winning 20 games in each of his first three seasons — a feat no other San Francisco head coach had ever accomplished — and notching back-to-back 20-win seasons with the Dons for the first time since 1975-76 through 1981-82.

Smith went 63-40, reached the CBI in his first season with the Dons and then reached the CBI title series in 2017-18, but after becoming a fixture in the at-large bid conversation for the NCAA Tournament throughout 2018-19, his team lost its final four games of the season, including an unexpected quarterfinal defeat in the West Coast Conference Tournament.

Having defeated eventual Tournament champion St. Mary’s, as well as Pac-12 programs Cal and Stanford, then taken a lead at home against Gonzaga — then the No. 5 team in the nation — with 3:50 to go in their Jan. 12 game, Smith’s Dons were in the discussion for their first NCAA Tournament bid in 21 years. When their late-season swoon ended that possibility, San Francisco resolved that it would take no less than a bid to the National Invitational Tournament. That did not come, and the Dons did not participate in the postseason.

Smith came to San Francisco after going 101-82 in six years at Columbia, leading the team to a CIT Championship over UC Irvine in his final season. Before that, he was Randy Bennett’s top assistant for 10 years as he built the Gaels into a mid-major power in Moraga.

In heading to Pullman, Smith would be replacing Ernie Kent, who was fired after going 58-98 over five seasons. Kent reportedly made $1.4 million, more than twice what it’s estimated Smith makes at San Francisco.

The Dons’ search for Smith’s replacement could wind up finding an internal candidate. That would likely be associate head coach Todd Golden. A former standout with St. Mary’s when Smith was a coach there. Prior to that job, which includes duties as defensive coordinator and recruiting coordinator, Golden served as the director of basketball operations at Auburn and was an assistant coach with the Tigers, handling their guards and scheduling, as well as analytics.

Before Auburn, Golden spent the 2013-14 season as an assistant coach on Smith’s staff at Columbia, where he helped the Lions to a 21-13 mark and a spot in the CollegeInsiders.com Tournament. He also served as director of basketball operations for the Lions during the 2012-13 season.

The captain of St. Mary’s 2007-08 team, Golden finished his career as the Gaels all-time leader in free throw percentage (.852) and eighth with 269 career assists.

College Sports

Just Posted

A felled tree in Sydney G. Walton Square blocks part of a lane on Front Street following Sunday’s storm on Monday, Oct. 25, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
After the rain: What San Francisco learned from a monster storm

Widespread damage underscored The City’s susceptibility to heavy wind and rain

Plan Bay Area 2050 is an expansive plan guiding the region’s growth and development over the next three decades. The regional plan addresses progressive policy priorities like a universal basic income and a region-wide rent cap, alongside massive new spending on affordable housing and transportation infrastructure. (Shutterstock)
$1.4 trillion ‘blueprint’ would address Bay Area’s housing, transit woes

Analyzing the big ticket proposals in ‘Plan Bay Area 2050’

A felled tree in San Francisco is pictured on Fillmore Street following a major storm that produced high winds and heavy rains on Oct. 24, 2021. (Photo courtesy of Philip Ford)
Storm updates: Rainiest October day in San Francisco history

Rainfall exceeded 10 inches in parts of the Bay Area

On Sunday, California bore the brunt of what meteorologists referred to as a bomb cyclone and an atmospheric river, a convergence of storms that brought more than half a foot of rain to parts of the Bay Area, along with high winds, concerns about flash floods and the potential for heavy snow in the Sierra Nevada. Much of the Bay Area was under a flash flood watch on Sunday, with the National Weather Service warning of the potential for mudslides across the region. (NOAA via The New York Times)
Bomb cyclone, atmospheric river combine to pummel California with rain and wind

What you need to know about this historic weather event

The Department of Building Inspection, at 49 South Van Ness Ave., has been mired in scandal since since its creation by voter referendum under Proposition G in 1994. (Courtesy SF.gov)
The Department of Building Inspection, at 49 South Van Ness Ave., has been mired in scandal since its creation by voter referendum under Proposition G in 1994. (Courtesy SF.gov)
Whistleblowing hasn’t worked at the SF Dept. of Building Inspection

DBI inspectors say their boss kept them off connected builders’ projects

Most Read