April 12, 2013
BALTIMORE - G.G. Smith has been named the head men's basketball coach at Loyola University Maryland, the school's president, Rev. Brian F. Linnane, S.J., announced today at a press conference in Reitz Arena.
Smith, who is the son of current Texas Tech University Head Coach Tubby Smith, has been an assistant at Loyola for the past six seasons under former coach Jimmy Patsos.
"At Loyola, we take great pride in a Greyhounds athletics program where our students' achievements and contributions in the classroom and in the community are as remarkable as their accomplishments in competition," Fr. Linnane said. "G.G. Smith shares this commitment, and I know he will build on our program's recent successes to bring even greater excitement and spirit to Loyola basketball and our university."
Smith, 36, is the 20th head coach in Loyola history and takes the reins of a program that won 62 games over the last three seasons and reached the postseason in each of the last two.
"It is an honor to be asked to continue building on what Loyola men's basketball has accomplished," Smith said. "Loyola is a wonderful school that has been a great home for the last six years, and I look forward to leading the program going forward. I would like to thank Father Linnane, (executive vice president) Susan Donovan, (vice president) Marc Camille and (assistant vice president and director of athletics) Jim Paquette for their support and commitment to Loyola basketball and me."
Smith was a three-year starter at guard at the University of Georgia where he earned his bachelor's degree in 1999, and he later received his master's degree from the University of Kentucky.
"G.G. is the right person to lead our men's basketball program as Loyola transitions to the Patriot League next season," said Jim Paquette, Loyola's assistant vice president and director of athletics. "His knowledge of basketball, care for our student-athletes and desire to develop them as leaders has been evident in his time at Loyola, and we are excited that G.G. will build on the success Loyola basketball has achieved in recent years."
As a member of the Loyola coaching staff, Smith helped guide the Greyhounds to their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1994 when Loyola won the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference title in 2012. That season, the Greyhounds won a school Division I record 24 games and also were successful in a school-best 13 conference games.
"G.G. was a huge part of our success," Patsos said of his former assistant. "G.G. is not only a tremendous coach, but he is a better person. His knowledge of the game is outstanding, and I believe that he will be a great leader of the program going forward."
During his time at Loyola, Smith has handled many on-court coaching and scouting responsibilities for the Greyhounds. In the last two seasons, Loyola posted its first two Division I 20-win seasons, and this year's trip to the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament Quarterfinals marked the first back-to-back postseason appearances since 1951-1953.
Smith has been instrumental in the development of Loyola guard Dylon Cormier, a back-to-back All-MAAC performer who earned First Team honors in 2012-2013 when he averaged 16.4 points per game. In his six years at Loyola, Smith has coached 10 All-MAAC performers, four members of the league's All-Rookie Team, four MAAC Sixth Players of the Year and a Rookie of the Year.
"I am very excited that G.G. Smith is our next coach," Cormier said. "He has played at the highest levels, and as a team, we are looking forward to playing for him. He knows us as players, but he knows so much about basketball that we love to learn from him."
Prior to joining the staff at Loyola for the 2007-2008 season, Smith was an assistant at nearby Johns Hopkins University in 2006-2007, helping the Blue Jays to a 24-5 record and berth in the NCAA Division III Tournament.
He spent two seasons, 2004-2006, at Armstrong Atlantic State University. The Pirates finished 23-8 in 2005-2006 and earned a No. 2 seed in that season's NCAA Division II Tournament. Smith was an assistant at Tennessee Tech University in 2002-2003 when the Eagles went 21-10 and were the runners-up in the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament.
After graduating from Georgia, Smith was an assistant coach for a year at Lexington (Ky.) Catholic High School before spending two years, 2000-2002, as a graduate assistant coach at Kentucky. The Wildcats advanced to a Sweet Sixteen and won a Southeastern Conference regular-season title in his time at Rupp Arena.
"While all of us at Loyola know that the men's basketball coaching position is a great job and the vacancy comes at an exciting point in time due to the team's recent successes and the University's impending move to the Patriot League, it quickly became evident to me that the college basketball world has caught on as well," said Marc Camille, Ed. D. Loyola's vice president of enrollment management and communications who chaired the search process. "The level of interest in the position from quality candidates around the country made the process of narrowing down the pool more challenging, but equally so, more promising. We could not be more pleased with how things turned out."
Smith earned his bachelor of science in health and physical education from Georgia in 1999. He was a three-year starter and four-year letterwinner for the Bulldogs as a point guard. He earned All-SEC Third Team honors and helped Georgia advance to the NCAA Tournament twice, including to the 1996 Sweet Sixteen.
He graduated as the program's all-time leader in games played (129), wins in a season (24) and 3-pointers in a game (nine).
Smith then earned his master's degree in education in sports management from Kentucky in 2002.
Smith, and his wife, Lorie, have a young daughter, Jayna.