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updated: 9/1/2011 8:19 PM

Harper's Mark Smith resigns

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By Jonathan Cregier

Citing family reasons, Harper College women's basketball coach Mark Smith has resigned.

"Family is the most important thing to me," said Smith, who has three children.

Smith's oldest daughter, Kelsey, is a redshirt sophmore on the Michigan State women's basketball team and he plans to see Kelsey compete more this season.

"Time is slipping away," Smith said. "I just want to make sure I have every opportunity to see her play as much as possible."

Last winter in his second season at the helm, Smith led the Hawks to a 19-10 record, the first time Harper finished over .500 since the 2000-01 season.

"I have a lot of good feelings toward Harper," Smith said.

The Hawks have hired Nichole Jones to replace Smith, and Jones has retained assistant coach Marlene Sarley.

Jones called the Hawks "a good group (that is) improving steadily."

Jones played Division I basketball at St. Francis College in Brooklyn, N.Y. She served as the head volleyball and assistant basketball coach at Division II Felician College in New Jersey. Later she was the women's basketball coach at Young Women's Leadership Charter School in Chicago.

"I had an opportunity to see a lot of young ladies in the charter school league," Jones said.

Jones understands the importance of recruiting area players, especially from the Mid-Suburban League and private schools like St. Viator and Christian Liberty Academy in Arlington Heights.

"I will be at high school games," Jones said. "I am going to put myself out there as much as possible."

Jones describes herself as a "defensive coach." She even nicknamed her defensive scheme "mad dog" and wants it to create offensive opportunities. Jones likes to run the motion offense.