The trend this summer continues with assistant coaches grabbing many of the coaching vacancies in college golf with Blake Smart being named the head coach at the University of Memphis.
Smart may not completely fit that trend. Prior to the past five years as an assistant coach at Oklahoma, Smart was the head coach at Kennesaw State.
Smart was picked from a pool that drew more 70 applicants.
“Blake is one of the finest young golf coaches that I have had the pleasure to meet,” Memphis’ Director of Athletics Tom Bowen said. “I am pleased that he has accepted our offer to become the head golf coach at the University of Memphis.
“Blake’s background along with his amazing ability to recruit and build NCAA championship-caliber golf programs makes him a fantastic addition to our coaching staff. He is the perfect hire to continue the great work of Grant Robbins.”
Smart replaces Grant Robbins who left Memphis at the end of the season to become the head coach at Kansas State. Robbins spent 11 seasons as the head coach at Memphis, where he was a four-year letter winner and was inducted into the Tiger Hall of Fame in 2010.
Memphis has participated in NCAA regional play the past four years and won the Conference USA Championship in 2012.
Smart played a vital role in Oklahoma’s success – the Sooners have reached NCAA National Championship in each of the last four seasons.
“We will miss Blake in so many ways as he moves on to Memphis, but this is a great move for him and his wife,” Oklahoma head coach Ryan Hybl said. “He will do great things there, and we wish him success and thank him for his time at OU.”
For Smart, it’s back to being a head coach.
“This is an excellent opportunity for a coach such as myself who has been a head coach in the past as well as an assistant at a program such as Oklahoma the last five years,” Smart said. “The University of Memphis is on the brink of being a nationally-competitive program. Coach Robbins laid some fantastic groundwork. His work, especially with him being a Memphis alum, will always be appreciated.
“With this transition, the aim is always going to be to go win championships – winning league championships along with Regionals and advancing on to Nationals. Once you’re at Nationals, particularly in match play, everyone has a chance. The ultimate goal will be to make the Final Eight and then go stir things up and beat people.”
Prior to being named head coach at Kennesaw State, Smart was an assistant coach for two seasons with both the men’s and women’s programs at his alma mater, Berry College, an NAIA program in Rome, Ga. Smart competed at Berry from 1999-2004 and was named an NAIA All-American in 2002.