Illinois State's next head women's basketball coach says she's excited to be at the helm of a winning program. Barb Smith comes to ISU from St. Louis University, where she spent a season as associate head coach, but also had previous stints as assistant at various winning programs. Smith says she told ISU's returning players the pieces for success remain in place.
"You ladies already know how to win. You guys have won. So we're not working from the low end of the conference, we're going to bust through from the top. That's exciting. That's a huge challenge and I love that challenge."
Smith was the head coach at San Diego State a decade ago. She was let go following the 2002 season and a five-year mark of 49-86 leading the Aztecs.. But Smith says the passion to lead a program never died during non-head coaching jobs at Minnesota, California, and last year at St. Louis.
"Every move after that was a chance to learn something new. A chance to grow in a different area. A chance to prepare me for today. Yes, I did want to become a head coach again so this is a dream come true."
Smith also previously was an assistant at Colorado and Iona. ISU Athletic Director Gary Friedman calls Smith a winner. He says Smith's record speaks for itself.
Coach Smith as experienced tremendous success in the coaching profession, having been a part of ten NCAA appearances, and multiple sweet sixteen and elite eight appearances."
Smith succeeds Stephanie Glance, who accepted the head coaching job at Columbia earlier this month. Illinois State has made six consecutive post-season tournament appearances, losing in the first round of the NCAA tournament in 2008. This year's ISU Redbird team finished with an overall record of 24-11 and a 13-5 Missouri Valley Conference mark. ISU lost in the second round of the WNIT.
Learn more about the new ISU women's basketball coach.
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