B.J. Smith resigns as women's basketball coach

Wednesday, December 6, 2006
B.J. Smith

B.J. Smith resigned his position as the women's basketball coach at Southeast Missouri State, the university announced Wednesday in a news release.

"In a joint statement, Southeast Missouri State University and B.J. Smith, the head coach of the women's basketball team, announced today that Mr. Smith has decided that it is in his and the university's best interests that he voluntarily resign from the university."

The release said the resignation was accepted and deemed effective as of Dec. 1.

Smith had been the head coach since the 2002-03 season and led the program to its most successful seasons in Division I basketball. Southeast made the NCAA tournament for the first time this past season as part of its second straight 22-win campaign. The team shared the Ohio Valley Conference regular-season title for the first time in 2005-06 and won the OVC tournament title to earn the NCAA berth.

But the program also had come under the scrutiny of an investigation into violations that was being conducted by the OVC commissioner's office at the request of university president Dr. Kenneth Dobbins in late January. The NCAA joined in the investigation, which is ongoing. A preliminary report released in June by the OVC's investigating party, The Compliance Group of Kansas, found seven areas of violations and recommended sanctions that the university accepted.

But on Nov. 9, two days before Southeast was to open the current season, Smith was placed on paid personal leave by the university. University officials declined to comment on the reasons for the leave, which was indefinite.

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