Mario Moccia press conference transcript.
Ron Smith was named associate head coach at SIU on March 15, 2011. A 34-year coaching veteran, Smith spent nine seasons at Southern Illinois (1985-94) under Rich Herrin and helped lead the Salukis to six-straight post-season bids from 1989-94. He also coached Chris Lowery, who played for the Salukis from 1990-94.
"Ron understands this region, he understands our culture, and he understands our league," said Lowery. "He's going to be consistently upbeat about the future of our program and our kids. Everybody will feel it."
Most recently, Smith was an assistant for Greg McDermott for nine seasons at Northern Iowa (2001-06) and Iowa State (2006-10). Smith enjoyed unprecedented success while at UNI, helping the Panthers earn three-consecutive NCAA Tournament bids while compiling a 65-31 record from 2004-06. After the 2010 season, he started his own business, organizing foreign tours for college all-star teams.
Experience and a knack for recruiting are the biggest assets Smith brings to the job. Under Herrin, he landed such Saluki greats as Paul Lusk, Tyrone Bell and Ashraf Amaya.
A graduate of nearby Benton High School, Smith helped turn one of the worst programs in the MVC into one of the best. His last six years in Carbondale included four Valley titles (1990, 1992-94), and the Salukis qualified for the NIT from 1989-92 and were NCAA Tournament participants in 1993 and 1994.
After leaving SIU, Smith spent four years as athletic director and head basketball coach for Alton Community Schools. His 1997 team advanced to the state tournament for the first time in 42 years, and only the third time in school history. His overall record at Alton was 74-40, and among his coaching honors were IBCA District 19 Coach of the Year, Telegraph Newspaper Coach of the Year and Belleville News Democrat Coach of the Year.
Smith owns a master's degree in guidance and educational psychology, which he obtained from SIU in 1983. He has served as a sponsor for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes chapters at SIU and UNI.