news 6 days ago

Flagler College names Maurice Smith women's basketball coach

The St. Augustine Record, Fla. — Will Brown The St. Augustine Record, Fla.

June 10-- Jun. 10--Maurice Smith was announced as the women's basketball coach at Flagler College on Sunday afternoon.

The former Georgia College women's basketball coach leaves his alma mater to replace Erika Lang-Montgomery, who left Flagler to become an assistant at her alma mater, the University of Florida.

"Mo Smith has established himself as one of the most respected women's basketball coaches in the Southeast, and we are thrilled to welcome him to our Flagler family," said Flagler College Athletic Director Jud Damon. "Beyond his proven track record as a highly successful head coach in our league, Mo is a tremendous human being who will serve as an inspirational mentor and leader for our student-athletes."

Smith, like Damon, arrives at Flagler after holding a similar position at Georgia College. The two worked together in Milledgeville during the 2008-09 season, when Damon was the Athletic Director and Smith was an assistant within the women's basketball team.

Smith spent nearly 20 years as a player, assistant and head coach at Georgia College. He compiled a 131-123 record as the women's basketball coach at Georgia College, including a 10-19 record in the 2019-19 season. Despite losing their last seven games of the regular season, Georgia College advanced to the 2019 Peach Belt Conference tournament.

"Timing is everything. My family and I, my wife and I in particular, we don't make any move just to make it. We're prayerful about anything we do and everything we do. When this opportunity afforded itself, it was a feel I just couldn't shake. I really didn't have a lot of ambition to move, but, if it were to be a great situation, I knew Flagler would be that situation."

Flagler College women's basketball assistant Amber Howell is expected to remain on staff.

Smith credited Howell and Lang-Montgomery for setting a foundation within the program and recruiting the players who will compete during the 2019-2020 season.

There will be as many as a half dozen new faces on the floor for Flagler this season. Some like post Tabitha Odabe and forward Malaysia Robinson have graduated, while others, such as forward Chris Wilson, are not expected to return.

Smith is a College Park, Georgia native and his wife, A. Martine, is from Macon. This will be the first time Smith and his wife, as well as their daughters daughters, Jaiden and Olivia, have lived in Florida, but Northeast Florida will not be uncharted territory for the family. Coach Smith said the family has vacationed in the Ancient City for nearly a decade.

While, the Smiths will not be any different from scores of families who move to St. Augustine, he is coming to work. He will bring the pack line defense that has helped the Bobcats win the 2011 Peach Belt Conference tournament title.

Basketball has been Smith's passion since he was a young child, but he didn't consider coaching until after his collegiate career ended in 2001.

His first job out of college was at the Bill E. Ireland Youth Detention Center in Milledgeville. It was around that time Smith realized he wanted to "help young people become the best version of themselves" before they were incarcerated. Terry Sellers, Smith's coach at Georgia College, offered him a graduate assistant position. That was the start of a career that led Smith to becoming the 19th women's basketball coach at Flagler College.

Smith transitioned from being a men's basketball assistant to coaching women's basketball during the 2006-07 season under John Carrick. The relationships he formed during that season have led the former forward to focusing on women's basketball.

"I felt I had my calling on the women's side," Smith said. "It felt like it was the right fit. I couldn't see myself doing anything else, or coaching men, after that first year."

Smith was named the head coach in 2010 and posted a winning record in six of his nine seasons on the sidelines.

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