Smiley named Head Basketball Coach at Fredonia State

Fredonia State Director of Athletics Jerry Fisk today announced the appointment of Sean Smiley as head coach of the men’s basketball program. He will assume the reins on August 15, 2020.

Smiley will move to Fredonia State from Hobart College, where he has served as men’s basketball assistant for the past three seasons. He brings both experience of working at an NCAA Division 3 school and a knowledge of the immediate area. A native of Erie, Pa., he attended the University at Buffalo and played four seasons for the Bulls prior to entering the coaching ranks.

“I am excited to welcome Sean Smiley to the Fredonia State Athletics team,” Mr. Fisk said. “As we progressed through our exhaustive search, it became clear that Coach Smiley’s energy, passion, and leadership abilities aligned exactly with the qualities we were looking for in the next Blue Devil Men’s Basketball Head Coach.

“His professionalism, depth of knowledge, engaging personality and fit for what our program needs stood out among an outstanding group of applicants. I am very excited to see where Sean will take our program.”

Mr. Smiley will succeed Phil Seymore, who coached the Blue Devils for seven seasons. “I would like to thank Coach Phil Seymore,” Mr. Fisk said, “for his years of service and dedication to Fredonia State and the student-athletes of the men’s basketball program. I wish him the best.”

Ready to get started

Mr. Smiley notified the Hobart players that he was leaving during a quickly arranged Zoom meeting Monday night and is  prepared to hit the ground floor running with the Blue Devils.

“I would first like to thank,” he said, “Director of Athletics Jerry Fisk and the entire search committee for the opportunity to lead our men’s basketball program and develop our student-athletes. It was very clear to me throughout the interview process that Fredonia State Athletics fosters a tremendous culture. I am honored to become a member of the Blue Devil Athletics family, and I look forward to working with all of the student-athletes and coaches.”

“I also want to thank the members of the search committee,” Mr. Fisk said, “for their tireless work in conducting a search unlike any other, as all interviews were conducted virtually. I strongly believe that Coach Smiley will lead a resurgence in Fredonia State Men’s Basketball.”

Smiley joined the Hobart coaching staff prior to the start of the 2017-18 season and paid immediate dividends. The 2017-18 Statesmen finished with a 21-5 record, a program-record 15-game winning streak, the Liberty League regular season championship, and the program’s highest national ranking (No. 19). Hobart’s coaches were voted the 2017-18 Liberty League Coaching Staff of the Year. This past season, Hobart reached the the NCAA Round of 16 for the first time before the season was cut short by COVID-19. The Statesmen were ranked No. 20 in the nation in NCAA D3 post-season polls. 

From Erie to Buffalo

A graduate of McDowell High School of Erie, Pa., Smiley moved up Interstate 90 to attend University at Buffalo. A standout guard, Smiley was a three-point threat for the Bulls from 2005-10. In 105 career games, he scored 631 points, including 132 triples, which ranked fourth on the school’s all-time list when he graduated. In 2007-08, Smiley was a team captain and averaged 8.0 points per game. A year later, he and his teammates went 21-12 and won the Mid-American Conference regular season championship. During his final season, Smiley made a career-high 52 3-pointers and averaged a career-high 8.7 points per game.

A member of the 2010 MAC All-Academic Team, Smiley earned a Bachelor’s degree in Communication from Buffalo.
Following graduation, Smiley joined the coaching staff at his alma mater. The Bulls were 34-31 during his two seasons on the bench, including a 20-11 mark in 2011-12. The 2011-12 team ranked in the top 20 in the nation in rebounding (4th), assists (9th), rebounding margin (11th) and blocked shots (18th) while leading the MAC in a total of nine statistical categories.

From 2014-16, Smiley was the assistant varsity boys basketball coach at Bishop Verot High School in Fort Myers, Fla., followed by an eight-month stint with Team Carolina as the head coach of the AAU program’s eighth grade team.

“It is truly an exciting time for Fredonia Basketball, and we are eager to get to work,” Mr. Smiley said. “Our fans and supporters can expect a Blue Devils team that brings an energetic, unrelenting brand of basketball to Dods Hall. 

“More importantly, our program will foster leadership and personal growth on and off the court. My wife, Brooklynn, and I are thrilled to join this extraordinary campus and community.”

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