Smith not sure about his future

Friday, December 8, 2006

After his resignation from Southeast this week, he hopes to return to coaching.

In his first public comments since his career as Southeast Missouri State's head women's basketball coach officially ended, B.J. Smith said Thursday he thoroughly enjoyed his time in Cape Girardeau and hopes to eventually land on his feet with another program.

Smith's resignation was announced Wednesday in a brief statement by the university. His eventual departure from the position he had held for the past four years became apparent after he was placed on indefinite paid leave by the university on Nov. 9, two days prior to the season opener.

While an agreement between Smith and the university prohibits him from making negative or disparaging comments about the university or its personnel and also includes a confidentiality clause about the agreement, Smith touched on a variety of subjects in an interview with the Southeast Missourian.

"I'm going to miss Cape," said Smith, who led the Redhawks to an Ohio Valley Conference-best 79-41 record the past four years, including the program's first OVC championship and NCAA Division I tournament berth last season. "I felt like it was a great fit for me."

Smith, whose program had been under scrutiny for alleged NCAA rules violations that the university acknowledged and for which it self-imposed sanctions, was in the first year of a new three-year contract that paid him $75,000 annually. He reached an agreement with the university that will pay him through May -- an amount of about $37,500.

Smith, an Oklahoma native who coached at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M junior college prior to coming to Southeast, said he will likely remain in Cape Girardeau for a while, at least until he lands another coaching job.

"I don't know when that would be," Smith said. "I'm sure I wouldn't be able to find anything until at least the spring."

Smith said he definitely wants to continue coaching.

"I do. I don't know what opportunities are out there or when, but at some point hopefully I'll be coaching someplace else," he said. "I don't really have any immediate plans. I'm just trying to regroup."

As for how much he believes the way his tenure at Southeast ended -- with the alleged NCAA violations and other things that apparently led to his being forced out -- will hurt him in trying to land another coaching job, Smith said, "It sure won't help."

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