Loyalty and steadfastness are two difficult things to acquire in college athletics. But Northern Illinois head coach Ricardo Patton seems to have found just that in Will Smith, who enters his third season as an assistant coach at NIU, and the seventh campaign on Patton's coaching staff.
After serving a combined four years as the Director of Basketball Operations at both Colorado and NIU, Smith was elevated to the assistant coaching post with the Huskies in May 2008. Along with serving as NIU's recruiting coordinator, his duties include film editing, scouting and individual workouts. Smith also directs NIU's defensive principles.
The Memphis, Tenn., native has been a cornerstone in establishing NIU's recruiting pipeline to the south. Smith brought redshirt freshman and Nashville product Antone Christian on board, while also serving as the primary recruiter for Memphis native Nate Rucker, the first player signed in Patton's 2010-11 recruiting class.
As Patton's operations director, Smith was responsible for travel and practice plans, film exchange, game-by-game scouting, academics and coordinating the Ricardo Patton basketball camps (at CU).
The first player recruited by Patton at the University of Colorado, Smith played for the Buffs from 1996-2000, including two seasons with former All-American Chauncey Billups. He was a part of one NCAA Tournament team (1996-97) and a pair of National Invitation Tournament (NIT) squads (1998-99 and 1999-2000). Smith is the first former player under Patton to join his coaching staff.
Smith scored 739 points during his four-year career and shares the CU all-time record for most games played in a career (123). He is also one-of two players in program history to have played more than 100 games without fouling out of a single contest.
During the 2001-02 season, Smith played professional basketball for the Colima Tuberos in the LNBP League in Colima, Mexico. During that time, Smith also served as a tutor, and a conversation English teacher at the University of Colima.
Smith lettered four times in basketball at Hamilton High School (Memphis). He was a standout prep player, earning a top-100 national ranking, along with a No. 2 overall ranking in the state of Tennessee as a senior. Smith was tabbed district MVP in 1996, and was awarded the Coca-Cola Winter Sports Player of the Year in the same season.
Smith was born Dec. 13, 1978. He has a 12-year old son, Caleb.