UTEP Men’s Basketball Head Coach Rodney Terry named Lamont Smith to his staff on Wednesday.
“I’m excited to hire Lamont as my top assistant here at UTEP,” Terry said. “From afar I’ve had the pleasure of watching him successfully recruit, develop and coach young men at some of the top programs in men’s college basketball. Coach Smith is a tireless worker who understands the commitment needed to build a program that is able to sustain success at a high level. He will play a key role in helping me establish a competitive program that educates and develops young men into productive adults.”
“My family and I are ecstatic about the opportunity to join the UTEP basketball program,” Smith said. “It’s like a dream to have the opportunity to be back in my home state of Texas coaching at a university with such a rich tradition of success in college basketball. Working with one of the top coaches in Rodney Terry made this an easy decision for me.”
Smith most recently served as the head coach at the University of San Diego for three seasons. The Toreros made significant strides under his leadership, posting marks of 9-21 in 2015-16, 13-18 in 2016-17 and 20-14 in 2017-18. San Diego’s West Coast Conference record also climbed from 4-14 in 2015-16 to 9-9 this season.
The 2017-18 Toreros featured three All-Conference players – senior forward Isaiah Pineiro (first team), junior guard Isaiah Wright (second team) and junior guard Olin Carter III (honorable mention) – and ended their season in the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament. Their non-conference schedule was highlighted by victories at NM State (65-60) and Colorado (69-59).
Smith coached a second team All-WCC Player (senior forward Brett Bailey) during the 2016-17 season, in which the Toreros knocked off eventual NIT participant BYU at home.
A native of The Colony, Texas, Smith has previous assistant coaching stints at Saint Louis (1999-2001), Saint Mary’s (2001-07), Santa Clara (2007-08), Arizona State (2008-12), Washington (2012-13) and New Mexico (2013-15).
He returned to San Diego, his alma mater, after helping New Mexico to 42 wins in two years as Associate Head Coach. The Lobos put together a stellar 2013-14 campaign, finishing 27-7 and 15-3 in the Mountain West Conference while reaching the NCAA Tournament. With Smith overseeing the defense, UNM yielded 66.1 points per game while holding opponents to a .389 field goal percentage.
While at Washington, Smith assisted Lorenzo Romar to an 18-16 mark and 9-9 record in the Pac-12 Conference, along with a berth in the NIT. It marked the second time that Smith worked with Romar; he got his start in coaching as a graduate assistant at Saint Louis from 1999-2001 when Romar was coach of the Billikens. His duties at Saint Louis included coordinating the team’s video editing and film exchange, while assisting with team’s recruiting, scouting and strength and conditioning programs.
Smith’s tenure at Arizona State produced a couple of 20-win seasons, and the Sun Devils reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament in 2009. Smith played a critical role in the development of 2009 Pac-10 Player of the Year and current Houston Rocket James Harden.
Prior to joining Herb Sendek’s staff at Arizona State, Smith served as Kerry Keating’s top assistant at Santa Clara. He helped compile one of the top recruiting classes in the West Coast Conference during his stint with the Broncos.
Smith spent six years as an assistant on Randy Bennett’s staff at Saint Mary’s, renewing a relationship that started when the two worked together at Saint Louis. He helped engineer a major turnaround with the Gaels, as they climbed from two wins the year before his arrival to a school-record 25 in 2004-05. That year Saint Mary’s made only its third all-time NCAA Tournament appearance. The 2003-04 squad set a school record by scoring 2,377 points. Saint Mary’s was stout on both sides of the ball; in the first four seasons that he was on the bench, the Gaels led the WCC in scoring defense.
Smith played at San Diego from 1994-99, starting every game for an 18-9 squad as a senior. He was named the Toreros’ Defensive Player of the Year in 1997 and 1999 and served as team captain from 1997-99. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from San Diego in 1998.
Smith and his wife, Kim, have two daughters, Payton (12) and Olivia (11).