Men’s Basketball Head Coach Jeff Linder wasted little time in filling his top assistant role. Linder announced that Steve Smiley will be UNC’s Associate Head Coach.
Smiley, a fellow Colorado native comes to the Bears from Weber State, where he served under Wildcats Head Coach, Randy Rahe for two seasons.
“Coach Smiley is someone I have ties to going all the way back to high school,” Linder said. “He has had tremendous success at all of his coaching stops and is someone I’ve always kept my eye on knowing if I ever got the chance to run a program, he’d be a guy I wanted on my staff. Steve has a great basketball mind and is one of the hardest working coaches I know. He’s served under some of the best, including of the winningest coach in NCAA history and UNC Alum, Don Meyer. As good as a fit as I am for this job, Steve might be even better. Being from Colorado, I know he will take great pride in the Greeley community, this program and help better the student-athlete experience which in turn, will help this program have winning seasons and compete for Big Sky Championships.”
During the past year, Smiley helped lead the Weber State to the Big Sky regular season title, Big Sky Tournament title and a trip to the NCAA Tournament, while posting a 26-9 overall record.
Prior to Weber State, Smiley spent six years as the head coach at Sheridan College, a national junior college powerhouse in Sheridan, Wyoming.
In the six years with the Generals, Smiley posted a 153-43 overall record and led Sheridan to four North Sub-Region 9 titles and two runner-up finishes. His teams also advanced to the Region 9 Final Four, four times and appeared in two championship games. Smiley was twice named the North Region Coach of the Year.
“Coach Linder and I’ve known each other for a long time and he’s helped me in my career at several different stops and I’m thankful that he’s allowed me to have this opportunity and be a part of his staff here at Northern Colorado,” Smiley said. “Being able to work with someone that you’ve known for years and years and years is rare in this business and I’m fortunate to be able to do that. I believe there is a lot of talent here and an opportunity to keep bringing in talent because we have a great campus and a great student body. This is a really special place that can make for a great student-athlete experience. ”
During his time at Sheridan, Smiley had 21 players sign to play NCAA Division I basketball and a total of 38 players moved on to the four-year level. He coached two players who earned NJCAA All-American honors and nine players who earned All-Region honors. Several players went on to play professional basketball across the world.
In addition to head coach, Smiley also worked as the Athletics Director at Sheridan.
Prior to his time at Sheridan, Smiley spent two seasons as an assistant coach at his alma mater, Northern State University in Aberdeen, South Dakota where he worked under the winningest coach in NCAA history, Don Meyer. During his time at NSU, the Wolves posted a 50-12 record. Smiley was also the head assistant coach at Black Hills State University during the 2005-06 season.
A native of Denver, Smiley graduated from Northern State in 2004. He was a three-year starter with the Wolves and led the Northern Sun league in assists for three straight seasons. He ranks second in NSU history in career assists with 537. As a senior he was named the NSIC Defensive Player of the Year and the league tournament MVP. He helped lead the team to a 24-7 record and a trip to the NCAA Division II Tournament.
He played high school basketball at Pomona High School in Arvada, Colorado, where he was a four-year starter and earned All-State honors twice. He also led the state of Colorado in assists during his junior season.
“I’ve always wanted to come back and coach in my home state,” Smiley added. “I take tremendous pride in the fact that I’m from Colorado and this job could not be more perfect of a fit for me and my family.”
Photo UNC Athletics