Jay Smith

Jay Smith is leaving his post as Wiley’s men’s head basketball coach to become an assistant at the University of New Orleans.

Wiley College Sports Information

After leading the Wiley College men’s basketball team to the second round of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Division I Men’s Basketball Championship, head coach Jay Smith will be coaching in the National Collegiate Athletic Association next season, as he will become an assistant coach at the University of New Orleans.

“It’s a dream come true,” Smith said. “Getting to coach at the NCAA Division I level has always been a goal of mine.”

“Coach Smith’s new appointment is a testament to his hard work, coaching ability and dedication to building competitive basketball programs, said Brandon K. Dumas, Ph.D., WIley College director of intercollegiate athletics. “His passion for excellence and contributions to men’s basketball at Wiley College will not soon be forgotten. ... We wish well and pray for his continued success at his new role at the University of New Orleans.”

The Privateers won 19 games last season and reached the Southland Conference championship game. They qualified for the CollegeInsider.com Tournament. Smith will work under head coach Mark Slessinger – who has followed his career since he was a high school coach at Comeaux in Louisiana.

“He’s always been a mentor to me,” Smith said. “He’s helped guide my career. He kept his foot in my butt to make sure I finished my degree so I can make the strides I’ve made as a coach the last few years.”

The move will also bring Smith closer to his family – who live about an hour outside New Orleans. That’s important for him especially since his son Jailon just became a teenager.

Smith has spent most of his coaching career in Louisiana. In eight seasons at Comeaux High School, he helped the program to 171 victories, three state quarterfinal berths and two district titles. Under his coaching, several players earned All-District, six All-Acadiana players, two All-District MVPs, two All-Acadiana MVPs, five All-State performers and a McDonald’s All-American nominee.

He joined Larry Cordaro’s staff and helped start the men’s basketball program at Louisiana State University-Alexandria. With him on staff, the Generals became a national powerhouse – winning 23, 29 and 34 games in Smith’s three seasons. LSU-Alexandria won three regular season Red River Athletic Conference titles and two tournament titles. Smith coached on three NAIA Tournament teams with the Generals reaching the Fab Four in 2016-17. In three seasons, LSU-Alexandria players earned several accolades with Smith on staff including NAIA First Team All-American, Red River Athletic Conference Player of the Year, RRAC Defensive Player of the Year, RRAC Newcomer of the Year, and RRAC Freshman of the Year.

In his two seasons at Wiley College, Smith led the Wildcats to 33 victories. Last season, Wiley College won 24 games – which is second most in program history. It was ranked most of the season – rising as high as 10th and finished the season 12th – which is the Wildcats best end of season ranking in program history. Smith led the Wildcats to a third seed in the NAIA Tournament and led them to their first victory in 49 years when they defeated University of the Cumberlands 68-56 in the first round. He helped Wiley College finish in a tie for second in the conference and earned Red River Athletic Conference Coach of the Year – the first Wiley College men’s basketball coach to win the award.

“Coach Smith has continued Wiley’s longstanding tradition of successful competition and heightened the visibility of our program with several notable accomplishments,” Dumas said.

Smith put on emphasis on the defensive side of the ball. Last season his teams ranked fifth in opponents 3-point and overall field goal percentage, sixth in rebounds and offensive rebounds per game, seventh in assists per game, eighth in scoring margin, 11th in rebound margin, 15th in points per game, 16th in defensive rebounds per game, 21st in free throw percentage and 25th in points allowed per game.

With Smith focused on player development, several of them earned accolades the past two seasons, including:

■ 4 NAIA All-Americans

■ 1 NAIA All-Star selection

■ 2 Arthur Ashe Junior Sports Scholars

■ 10 All-Conference selections

■ 3 All-Tournament selections

■ 1 Freshman of the Year

■ 1 Coach of the Year

■ 3 Scholar Athletes in 2017-18

■ 4 RRAC Players of the Week

■ One 1,000 point club member

Several records were broken with Smith calling the shots.

INDIVIDUAL GAME

■ 3-point field goals made

■ 3-point field goal percentage

INDIVIDUAL SEASON

■ 3-point field goals attempted

TEAM GAME

■ 3-point field goals made

■ 3-point field goals attempted

TEAM SEASON

■ 3-point field goals made

■ 3-point field goals attempted

“Wiley holds a huge spot in my heart,” Smith said. “It was my first opportunity to become a head coach. Wiley embraced me and allowed me to grow as a coach. Everyone from the president to the maintenance workers, embraced me and did a lot to help make my transition into the head coach role as easy as possible. I will always be grateful for Wiley College.”

The Wildcats are expected to return six from last season’s team including Red River Athletic Conference Freshman of the Year Ferontay Banks (SO/Lafayette, Louisiana) and Travious Grubbs (SR/Silsbee) – who started 25 games last season. Smith hopes the program will continue to succeed.

“There are good pieces here,” Smith said. I believe the Wiley College men’s basketball program will be in a great spot going forward with those guys.”