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Shaka Smart, most recently the associate head coach at
Akron the last three seasons, has been named an assistant basketball
coach at Clemson.
Tiger Head Coach Oliver Purnell made the
announcement Wednesday. Smart replaces Kevin Nickelberry, who
resigned earlier this month to become the head coach at Hampton
This is actually the second time Smart has been hired at
Clemson by Purnell. He came with Purnell from Dayton to Clemson in
2003 as the director of basketball operations. But, in June of 2003,
Smart accepted the coaching position at Akron.
"We are very pleased to have Shaka Smart return to Clemson,"
said Purnell. "Shaka worked with our program at Dayton and he made a
big impact on our final two seasons. For the last three years he
has been a major reason Akron has made significant improvements.
They won 23 games this past year and we saw first hand the strength
of that program because we had a very competitive game with them in
Puerto Rico (66-59 Clemson win). Shaka is a terrific young coach
and we are very excited he has decided to return to Clemson."
Akron finished the 2005-06 season with a 23-10 record, its
highest victory total since it became a Division I program in
1980-81, and the most by any Akron team since 1971-72. The Zips
posted a 14-4 record in the MAC, their highest conference victory
total in one season in history, and advanced to the second round of
the NIT. It was Akron's first postseason bid in 17 years and the
opening round NIT victory over Temple that ended John Chaney's
coaching career was the first Division I postseason win in school
Akron had a 42-20 overall record under head coach Keith Dambrut,
including a 25-11 league record over the last two seasons.
Smart worked at Dayton for Purnell for two seasons as
director of basketball operations, the 2001-02 and 2002-03 seasons.
In those two seasons, the Flyers posted a 45-17 record and won the
2003 Atlantic 10 Championship. The squad had a 24-6 record in
2002-03 when it played in the NCAA Tournament, and had a 21-11 mark
in 2001-02. The Flyers competed in the NIT that year.
Prior to his time at Dayton and immediately after graduating
from college, Smart served as an assistant coach at California
University of Pennsylvania. The school had a 40-16 combined record
for those two seasons. While he worked at California (PA), Smart
earned his master's degree in social science.
Smart, who turned 29 on April 8, played his college
basketball at Kenyon College and graduated Magna cum laude in 1999
with a degree in history. A four-year starter and three-year
captain, he holds the Kenyon assist record for a season (184) and a
career (542). As a senior, he was an All-North Coast Conference
selection and was the NCAC Scholar Athlete of the Year. He was one
of 20 student-athletes selected for the 1999 USA Today All-USA
Academic team and received a NCAA postgraduate scholarship.
Smart Officially Named Assistant Coach
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