The Golden State Warriors have informed Head Coach Keith Smart that he will not be retained for the 2011-12 season, the team announced today. Smart, who was named head coach of the Warriors on September 27, 2010, led Golden State to a 36-46 record during the recently-completed 2010-11 NBA season.
“It’s never easy to make difficult decisions, especially when it involves someone that we have a great deal of respect for like Keith Smart,” said Warriors Owner Joe Lacob. “After meeting extensively with Larry Riley and Bob Myers, we came to the conclusion that a change was necessary at this particular time. I think Keith did an admirable job this season and he should be commended for many of the positive things that transpired both on and off the floor. The team showed improvement and their effort was never in question. However, we’ve elected to pursue a new path and we wish Keith the very best. He’s a quality person and we thank him for the time he invested with our organization.”
Smart, 46, originally began his tour of duty with the Warriors as an assistant coach during the 2003-04 season. He spent seven seasons in that capacity before being elevated to head coach – the 23rd in franchise history – prior to the start of last season. A native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Smart also served as interim head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers for the final 40 games of the 2002-03 season.
“I obviously have a great deal of admiration for Keith as both a professional and a friend,” said Warriors Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations/GM Larry Riley. “He’s dedicated a lot of time, hard work and commitment to this job, not only over the course of the last year as the head coach, but the previous seven years with our organization. We’re grateful for his contributions and have the utmost respect for him. From our standpoint, however, we feel it is in our best interest as we move as an organization and begin to focus and prepare for the future. At this time, we do not have a timetable for hiring a successor. We’ll conduct our due diligence and make a good, sound decision when we’ve identified that individual.”