MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. – The Georgia College & State University athletic department and director Wendell Staton are proud to announce the hiring of Maurice Smith Friday as the sixth women’s basketball coach in school history. An assistant coach for four seasons for the Bobcat women, Smith replaces John Carrick, a 27-year veteran of the Bobcat sidelines who retired earlier this month.
“I’m excited for our program and I’m excited for Coach Smith,” said Staton. “Mo represents what any employer would want-he is a high character person with a great work ethic and value system. He has an impeccable reputation on and off campus and will provide outstanding leadership to our student-athletes and the Georgia College community.”
Smith has spent over 10 years at Georgia College, arriving first as a player in 1999 after two seasons at Wallace Community College in Alabama. He was an All-Peach Belt Conference (PBC) Second Team selection in 2001 for the Bobcats, after playing a sixth-man role on the best team in program history, the 1999-2000 Elite Eight squad.
He then joined the coaching ranks, first as a student assistant for men’s basketball in 2003-04 while pursuing his master’s degree. He then continued on as a graduate assistant coach for two seasons from 2004-06. Smith moved to the women’s side the next season in 2006-07 as the assistant coach and has worked with Bobcat women’s basketball program since.
“Georgia College has been a part of my life for the last decade, serving as a training ground for me as a player, person and professional,” said Smith. “For me to get this job is the ultimate privilege. Outside of basketball, my family is rooted here, I met my wife here, played here, got my bachelor’s and master’s here and to know I’m going to start my head coaching career here a bit longer is outstanding.”
Success has followed Smith at Georgia College, as a player on the top team in program history in 1999-2000, the team went 25-6, winning the PBC Championship and the NCAA South Atlantic Region title. As a graduate assistant coach on the men’s staff in 2005-06, Smith helped guide the team to a 22-9 record, another PBC Championship and a trip to the NCAA Sweet 16.
While with the women’s program, the team record has been a combined 72-44 (.621), including two 20-win seasons in 2006-07 and 2009-10. The 2006-07 team advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16, while this past season, the Bobcats won the PBC West Division Championship.
“I’m so fortunate that the right situation was in place wherever I went, each coach I’ve worked with has had a system in place that was successful, and I was able to learn from that,” Smith revealed. “Coach (Terry) Sellers and Coach Carrick both bring different coaching styles to the table. Both have been extremely successful, and I hope to take pieces from both and put them into my plan.”
Smith finished his undergraduate degree in 2001, adding a master’s in 2006. Originally from College Park, Ga., he finished high school in Americus, Ga., Smith married the former Martine Thomas, also a Georgia College graduate. The two live in Milledgeville and have two daughters, Jaiden (5 years) and Olivia (3 years).
The department will conduct a national search for Smith’s replacement at assistant coach, beginning immediately.
The GCSU Department of Athletics, winners of the 2008-09 PBC Commissioner's Cup, sponsors 10 varsity athletic programs at the NCAA Division II level. As a Division II program, Georgia College prides itself on balancing the life of the student-athlete, evidenced by the Bobcats' multiple appearances in post-season competition as well as documented academic success and community-service involvement. Sign up at Twitter.com username GCSUSID for up-to-the-minute reports, and visit www.GCSUBobcats.com to nominate your favorite former Bobcats and Colonials to the GCSU Athletics Hall of Fame.