Kyle Smith to Columbia (UPDATED); SHU, Wagner Hire Assistants

As reported here late Saturday night, St. Mary’s associate head coach Kyle Smith is moving East.

Smith is the new head coach at Columbia University, edging former New Orleans coach Joe Pasternak and NJIT coach Jim Engles, among others.

“Columbia University is very proud and excited to name Kyle Smith as our head men’s basketball coach” said Dr. M. Dianne Murphy, the school’s AD. “Kyle is an outstanding leader and successful recruiter with a terrific basketball mind. We are thrilled to welcome him to Columbia.”

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. In 2009-10, the Gaels finished 28-6 and reached the Sweet 16.

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 under Steve Donahue.

“I am very excited to be the next head men’s basketball coach at Columbia, one of the nation’s premier universities,” Smith said. “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.”

A native of Houston, Texas, he graduated from Hamilton University in upstate New York.

Columbia is the eighth Division 1 program in the New York metropolitan area to changes coaches this offseason, following St. John’s (Steve Lavin), Seton Hall (Kevin Willard), Fordham (Tom Pecora), Hofstra (Tim Welsh), Iona (Tim Cluess), St. Francis (Glenn Braica) and Wagner (Dan Hurley). Rutgers is also expected to name a new coach next week.

SETON HALL, WAGNER ADD ASSISTANTS

Chris Pompey, who recruited Herb Pope to New Mexico State, joined Kevin Willard’s staff at Seton Hall as the final assistant. Dan McHale and Shaheen Holloway are already on staff. Pompey made $112,200 last year as NMSU’s top assistant, according to the Las Cruces Sun News…At Wagner, Dan Hurley hired Luke Murray as his final assistant, following Bobby Hurley and Bashir Mason. Murray, a former Arizona assistant and New York Gauchos coach, is the son of actor and former “Saturday Night Live” star Bill Murray.

(Photo courtesy St. Mary’s Athletics)

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