LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Louisville coach Kenny Payne has named former Duke staffer Nolan Smith as assistant coach, his first staff hire since becoming Cardinals head coach nearly three weeks ago.
Smith’s hiring comes nearly a week since he informed the team of his departure after a season as assistant to Hall of Fame coach Mike Krzyzewski and six overall with the Blue Devils. The son of former Louisville standout Derek Smith, who played on the Cardinals’ 1980 NCAA championship team, was introduced during a news conference Monday afternoon and said, “it means the world to me.”
Payne described Smith as “one of the brightest young stars in the college basketball world” in a release. The new coach added, “His father is looking down on us smiling, because his blood and spirit are running through this program once again.”
Smith helped Duke win three consecutive Atlantic Coast Conference championships from 2009-11 and the NCAA men’s basketball title in 2010 after earning Most Outstanding Player honors at the South Regional in Houston. He was a consensus first team All-American selection and ACC Player of the Year in 2011.
Smith spent 2016-18 as special assistant at Duke before working three seasons as director of basketball operations and player development and becoming an assistant last season.
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