The Sacramento Kings today named Keith Smart as the team’s 24th Head Coach, according to President of Basketball Operations Geoff Petrie. Per team policy, terms of the contract were not disclosed. It may be a two-year deal, but we’ll confirm this later tonight here on this page.
“Keith will bring a new perspective to the team as we try to move forward with the season,” said Petrie. “He’s very well prepared and will assume the job with some new ideas and new approaches of his own. We’re all excited and looking forward to working with him.”
Smart, who spent last season as head coach of the Golden State Warriors where he compiled a 36-46 record, brings over 22 years of professional basketball experience as either a coach or player. Prior to his appointment as head coach for Golden State, Smart served seven seasons as an assistant coach for the Warriors, giving him the longest tenure of any assistant coach in Golden State history.
“I had a chance to work for Paul Westphal in the brief time that I’ve been here and really enjoyed it,” explained Smart. “He was very supportive every step of the way. I want to thank Geoff Petrie and the Maloof family for giving me this opportunity. I’m looking forward to implementing a few new things with what we want to try to do with our basketball team. Hopefully, they’ll respond to what I want them to do, and I believe they will. I think our players will be excited with some of the ideas that I have for our team moving forward.”
The 47-year-old Smart originally joined the Warriors prior to the 2003-04 campaign after spending the previous three seasons as an assistant coach for the Cleveland Cavaliers. He was named the Cavaliers interim head coach in the middle of the 2002-03 season upon taking over for John Lucas. At the time, he was the second-youngest head coach in the NBA.
“When I asked Geoff to add Keith Smart to our staff, I knew that he would be a tremendous asset going forward,” said Westphal. “Keith has my respect and blessing as he assumes the position he is exceptionally qualified to fill.”
Before joining the Cavaliers, Smart spent three seasons as the head coach of the CBA’s Fort Wayne Fury, compiling a record of 85-83 (.506) and guiding the team to its first back-to-back winning seasons in franchise history in 1997-98 and 1998-99. In his first campaign as a head coach at any level in 1997-98, he guided the Fury to a franchise-record 31-win season and a trip to the playoffs. The club made the playoffs again in 1998-99, despite having a single-season franchise record nine players signed to NBA contracts. He was awarded the American Conference Coach of the Month Award five times during his tenure with Fort Wayne and had a CBA-high 21 players signed to NBA contracts.
During his professional basketball playing career, Smart spent six seasons in the CBA, two seasons in France and one in Venezuela. He also played briefly with the San Antonio Spurs during the 1988-89 season.
Smart was originally drafted by the Warriors in the second round (41st overall) of the 1988 NBA Draft out of Indiana University. He is widely remembered for his Final Four heroics in 1987, in which he was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four after leading Indiana to a National Championship with his game-winning shot versus Syracuse in the title game.