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updated: 4/15/2013 2:40 PM

ISU hires Smith as women's basketball coach

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By Daily Herald News Services

NORMAL -- Barb Smith has been hired as the seventh head women's basketball coach in Illinois State history, school officials announced Monday.

Smith, who has 26 years of Division I collegiate coaching experience, was introduced to the media and fans by Illinois State Director of Athletics Gary Friedman at a news conference Monday afternoon.

For Smith, leading the Redbirds represents her second head coaching job. As a prominent recruiter, Smith has been involved with numerous recruiting classes ranked in the Top 20 nationally by scouting services.

"We are thrilled to welcome Barb Smith to the Redbird Family," Friedman said. "Her knowledge of the game, depth of experience, leadership, passion and work ethic are highlights of why she is the right fit to lead our women's basketball program. She has played for and worked with many great coaches and mentors, all of whom provided her wonderful opportunities to develop her own leadership style and philosophy that she will bring to Redbird women's basketball."

With over a quarter century of coaching experience, Smith is a true student of the game and knows about the rich tradition of Illinois State women's basketball.

Most recently, Smith spent the 2012-13 season at Saint Louis University as the associate head coach, recruiting coordinator and offensive coordinator. Smith also helped lead Minnesota to a 115-75 record and five postseason appearances, including four NCAA Tournaments during her six-year tenure as an assistant coach. The 2004-05 Golden Gophers were 26-8 and reached the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16, while the 2007-08 and 2008-09 squads each won 20 games.

Prior to her stint at Minnesota, Smith spent two seasons (2002-04) as the lead assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at California. During Smith's five seasons (1997-2002) as the head coach at San Diego State, the Aztecs landed the highest-ranked recruiting class in program history and featured guard Claire Swinbank, the team's first WNBA prospect.

Smith played collegiately at Ohio State, where she walked on and then earned a scholarship and the starting point guard position. At Ohio State, Smith played for Naismith Hall of Famer, Olympic coach and current Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer. During Smith's playing career, the Buckeyes won four Big Ten championships and made three NCAA appearances. A native of Perrysburg, Ohio, Smith earned a bachelor's degree in health education at Ohio State and a master's of business administration degree in organizational behavior at Iona College.

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