Sam Houston State Staff Update

Photo Courtesy SHSU Athletics

Jimmy Smith and Chuck Taylor have joined the Sam Houston men’s basketball staff as assistants, Bearkat head coach Jason Hooten announced.

Both bring experience as head coaches for winning programs.

Most recently, Smith led Texas Lutheran University to back-to-back conference titles and NCAA Division III national tournament appearances. Taylor served as an assistant at North Carolina Central University after rolling up 103 victories in five seasons as head coach at Paris Junior College.

“Having two assistants who have been head coaches during their careers will be an advantage for us,” Hooten said. “They understand what I go through as a head coach on a day-to-day basis. Both are team players without egos and their experience at the various levels of college basketball will be a big plus. I’ve known both Jimmy and Chuck for a long time and am very excited about both these hires.”

Smith is returning to Sam Houston where he served as a graduate assistant for the 2004-05 and 2005-06 seasons. The Bearkats posted a 40-21 mark during those two years. Hooten, Sam Houston’s head coach since 2010-11, was an assistant for the Kats during that time.

A four-year basketball letterman at Mary Hardin-Baylor in Belton, Smith was honored as the university’s Male Athlete of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year and as an American Southwest honorable mention all-conference selection. A three-time academic all-league honoree, he was UMHB’s first CoSIDA Academic All-Region honoree as a senior.

Smith returned to his alma mater as an assistant coach where he helped lead UMHB to a 70-18 three-year record and three NCAA Division III national tournament appearances.

In 2012-13 and 2013-14, Smith served as head coach at Schreiner University. In his second season, Smith guided Schreiner to its first winning record at the NCAA Division III level, finishing 15-12 overall and 10-4 in the SCAC. Smith’s squad was the runner-up in the SCAC standings and reached the semifinals of the SCAC Championship. Smith’s overall record as a head coach at both Texas Lutheran and Schreiner is 65-44

Taking over a program that finished last in the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference in 2013-24, Smith directed Texas Lutheran to a 39-17 two-year record. He was named NABC Division III South Region Co-Coach of the Year for 2015-16. The Bulldogs were the top seed in both the 2015 and 2016 SCAC tournaments and won the league’s post-season titles.

Both regular season championships were the first conference titles at TLU since 1965. The Division III playoffs marked the Bulldogs’ first NCAA post-season basketball appearances in school history.

“It’s great to hire someone you know and with whom you feel comfortable,” Hooten said. “Jimmy was our graduate assistant my first two years here at Sam Houston. We became really good friends and I’ve followed his career closely since. He has done a great job. He has proven he can recruit under difficult circumstances at a non-scholarship Division III university. A lot like myself coming from a Division II background, he’s done it the hard way. He is a good coach with good mind and a good recruiter.”

Taylor was an assistant for head coach LeVelle Moton at North Carolina Central University in the Mid-Eastern Conference last year after five seasons as head coach at Paris Junior College. He led the Dragons to a pair of conference championships, a regional title and a national tournament berth. He earned NJCAA Region 14 Coach of the Year honors twice.

Paris won the regular season conference championship with a 26-8 record in 2013-14 and went 24-7 in 2011-12. During the 2013-14 seasons, the Dragons also won the Region XIV tournament championship and reached the NJCAA National Tournament final 16. Taylor rolled up a record of 103 victories and only 52 losses at Paris.

A 2002 graduate of Wayne State University, Taylor served as an assistant at North Texas in 2001-02 then worked three years for head coach Ronnie Arrow at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.

As head coach at Richland College in Dallas, he directed his squad to a No. 3 NJCAA Division III national ranking. He returned to North Texas in 2006-07 and from 2007-08 to 2009-10, he served as associate head coach at the University of South Alabama.

Moving to Paris Junior College as head coach for five seasons, he earned NJCAA Region 14 Coach of the Year honors twice (in 2012 and 2014).

“I have known Chuck for 15 years,” Hooten said. “Chuck brings you instant credibility recruiting wise. He also was a successful recruiter in a non-scholarship situation at Richland. He is an excellent X’s and O’s guy and, with his experience, will step in and do a great job for us.”

Smith and his wife Lori are the parents of three children (Harrison, Eliza and Sage). Taylor and his wife Claudette have two daughters (Cydni and Czaria).


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