Assistant women's basketball coach Debbie Whitman talks about what is to be a coach at her alma mater.
As a four-year letterwinner for the Huskies (2001-04), Smith is in her second season with the Huskies after returning to NIU after coaching for the past eight years at the high school level. Most recently, she was the head women's varsity coach at Burlington Central in Burlington, Ill., where she tallied a 28-28 record.
"Stephanie is the most enthusiastic, energetic person," NIU head coach Kathi Bennett said. "She played here, so to have her come in as an alumnus is pretty special. All I know is that it beats in her heart to help this program win a championship. She wanted to win one as a player, and now having her on this staff, she's driven even more to win one.
"Her ability to relate to players is phenomenal. She is just kind of starting her young coaching career and I really have not seen any one hungrier to learn. Plus, her relationships as a high school coach will help us, along with her ability to reach the alumni. Both factors are pretty special for us."
Prior to her brief tenure with the Rockets, Smith served as an assistant at Marian Catholic in Chicago Heights, Ill., and at South Elgin in Elgin, Ill. She also coached at the AAU level.
A 2004 NIU graduate, Smith plans to add to her degree in education by pursuing a master's degree in adult and higher education.
As a Huskie, Smith played in 113 games during her career and made 36 starts as a guard. She scored 475 points (4.2/game) and held a career .350 (83-237) three-point shooting percentage, good for 10th-best in program history.