Jeff Smith is in his sixth year of his second stint with the Chippewa men’s basketball program.
His area of on-court expertise is defense, while his overriding focus since joining the program has been on the building and maintenance of recruiting strategy along with opponent scouting and preparation.
Smith has established strong recruiting ties inside and outside the state of Michigan during his tenure at CMU, and the fruits of that labor are coming to bear.
In 2017, the Chippewas signed 6-foot-9 AJ Bullard of Houston, 6-4 Matthew Beachler of Lowell, Mich., and Shawn Roundtree, a transfer guard from Mineral Area (Mo.) College who is expected to make an immediate impact with the Chippewas.
Those three follow immediately on the heels of the highly regarded '15-16 class which includes 6-11 Innocent Nwoko, 6-6 Cecil Williams, and guards Matty Smith, Kevin McKay and David DiLeo.
Those five join an ever-growing list of recent recruits who have made a lasting impact on the program. Three of those are Luke Meyer, DaRohn Scott and Josh Kozinski, who are expected to form part of the core of the 2017-18 team.
Defense has played a major role in CMU's rise to prominence. The Chippewas have won two of the last three MAC West Division titles and have posted a combined 56 victories in the past three seasons, the best three-season stretch since the Chippewas won 60 games from 1965-66 to 1967-68.
Smith, a Bay City, Mich. native, joined the CMU program as a graduate assistant in May 1997 and was promoted to assistant coach two years later. He helped the 2000-01 Chippewas to a 20-8 record and the MAC title.
Smith joined coach Greg Kampe’s staff at Oakland in 2002-03 and helped the Golden Grizzlies to the Mid-Continent Conference Tournament championship and a win in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament in 2005.
An Alma College graduate, Smith spent five years at Oakland and was largely responsible for the Grizzlies’ 2005 recruiting class that was ranked 23rd in the nation by Hoop Scoop. He also coached two Mid-Con Players of the Year at Oakland.
Smith worked as an assistant on coach Jim Boylen's staff at Utah from 2007-11, helping the Utes to the Mountain West Conference title and a No. 5 seed in the NCAA Tournament in 2011.
Smith played for two seasons at Alma College before a knee injury ended his career. He then worked with the program for two years as a student assistant and was named the college’s junior varsity coach during his senior season. He was an assistant coach at Albion College from 1995-97.