USD
University of San Diego. Photo credit: USD

The University of San Diego has picked Lamont Smith, currently assistant head coach at the University of New Mexico, as its new men’s basketball coach.

The 39-year-old native of Colony, TX, and USD graduate will replace Bill Grier, who was fired last month. Smith will become the Toreros’ 12th head coach and the team’s fifth since it moved to the NCAA Division I in 1979-80, according to USD.

Lamont Smith. Courtesy University of New Mexico

University officials said the up-and-coming collegiate coach had a reputation for developing student athletes. During his tenure at UNM, the Lobos‘ scoring defense dropped nearly 15 points.

The announcement that the father of two would take over USD’s coaching duties came about two weeks after Grier was fired. The university dismissed Grier, who previously was on the coaching staff at Gonzaga, after a tumultuous eight seasons.

Grier’s time with the university, in which he compiled a record of 117- 144 overall, was marred by a point-shaving scheme that resulted in star former point guard Brandon Johnson pleading guilty to conspiracy. Johnson, who was not recruited by Grier, was sentenced to six months in prison.

A former assistant coach, Thaddeus “T.J.” Brown, was sentenced to one year in prison for his role. No evidence was presented that Grier knew anything about the scheme.

— City News Service

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.