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WVC women's basketball: Smith named new coach at W.Va. State

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Veteran basketball coach David Smith knew that sitting behind a desk wasn't what he wanted to do.

So, when the opportunity to apply for the vacant women's head coach position at West Virginia State University arose, the 65-year-old Smith didn't hesitate.

State, in turn, made sure he didn't get away.

Smith, who has a 575-271 career record as an NCAA Division II coach, was named the head coach of the Yellow Jackets on Thursday.

"We are excited at the opportunity to bring on board a coach of his caliber," State Athletic Director Sean Loyd said. "We are all looking forward to working with Coach Smith."

Smith replaces former coach Renee Bostic, who resigned earlier this year after five years at the post to accept the athletic director position at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn, N.Y.

"This is a situation that gives me an opportunity to go in and build a program," said Smith, who spent the last 14 seasons at Bellarmine University, where he had a 249-156 record that included six 20-win seasons and six appearances in the NCAA Tournament. "I'm not young. I'm not looking to use this as a stepping stone. This is the last job I'm ever going to have, as far as coaching."

In April, Smith resigned his post at Bellarmine and was named the director of internal operations in the athletic department. It didn't take long before he realized that wasn't in his best interest.

"I'm a coach. I have no other skills," he said. "I can barely spell computer and all I do on my phone is talk. When you're done something for 43 years, that's what you know."

Before his stint at Bellarmine, Smith coached at Shippensburg and St. Joseph's College (Ind.). In fact, he founded the women's program at St. Joseph's in 1976 and led them to a 14-2 season. In his eight seasons in two stints there, his teams won three Great Lakes Valley Conference titles and two regional championships. Three times he was named the GLVC Coach of the Year.

The 1969 graduate of Indiana State University coached St. Joseph's for two seasons before moving to the men's side to serve as assistant for six seasons. He returned to guide the women's program in 1984 and coached it for six more years, the last three which went 82-10.

During his eight seasons at Shippensburg, the Raiders had four 20-win seasons and a combined record of 160-69. His most successful seasons were in 1989-90 with St. Joseph's (28-2) and 1997-98 with Shippensburg (28-4). His 1996 Shippensburg team was national runner-up, losing to North Dakota State in the NCAA Division II title game. His 1997-98 Raider team reached the Elite Eight.

Smith likes State's chances of reaching new levels for the program, despite the Yellow Jackets not winning more than 16 games in a season the last eight years and owning a 93-135 record during that time.

"It's in a great area, you're in the largest populated area of the state," Smith said. "You look at the men's program, it's won. Look at the baseball program and what they've done is amazing. The volleyball team and tennis team have been in the NCAA Tournament. Why not the women's basketball team?

"For whatever reason, the leadership they had hasn't gotten them there. The kids want to win, the kids want to turn the thing around."

Contact Assistant Sports Editor Rich Stevens at or 304-348-4837.


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