UF men's basketball makes coaching hire

Published: Sunday, June 1, 2008 at 9:23 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, June 1, 2008 at 9:23 p.m.

Florida has a new assistant basketball coach, sources told The Sun on Sunday.

Shaka Smart, a 31-year-old assistant at Clemson for the past two years, is the new hire.

Smart replaces Lewis Preston, who resigned late last week after accepting an assistant coaching job at Penn State.

Smart was in Gainesville on Sunday and had dinner with the Florida coaching staff.

He is the third new coach Billy Donovan has hired in the last three years after two previous coaches Anthony Grant and Donnie Jones left for head coaching positions at other schools. Another Donovan assistant John Pelphrey left the staff to become a head coach four years ago.

The other two assistants Larry Shyatt and Rob Lanier have been head coaches in the past.

Smart is considered to be one of the hot young assistants in college basketball after helping Oliver Purnell guide Clemson to a 24-10 record last season. Smart originally went to Clemson with Purnell from Dayton in 2003 to become director of basketball operations, but left later that year for an assistant coaching job at Akron. He returned to Clemson in 2006.

Smart graduated from Kenyon College in 1999 Magna cum laude with a degree in history. He holds the Kenyon record for assists in a season and a career.

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