Clemson severs ties with assistant basketball coach Steve Smith | News Coverage from USA

Clemson severs ties with assistant basketball coach Steve Smith

Clemson assistant men’s basketball coach Steve Smith is no longer with the program.

Smith’s one-year contract expired on Tuesday; on Friday the school announced in a one-sentence news release that it was ending his seven-year association with the Tigers.

“Clemson Athletics has not renewed the contract of assistant men’s basketball coach Steve Smith, which expired on April 30, 2019.”

Smith’s future at Clemson began to come into question last week, when on Thursday his name surfaced during the second college basketball corruption trial in New York City.

A video played as evidence in the trial revealed a conversation among Smith, defendant Christian Dawkins and an undercover FBI agent in July of 2017. Smith is heard talking about Clemson’s football program.

“That’s why football is so successful, is if you do it and use resources at Clemson, like you can really keep everything tight,” Smith said in the video, according to a CBS report.

On Friday, Clemson athletic director Dan Radakovich called Smith’s comments “unfortunate.”

“We feel very strongly that those were unfortunate comments and we are doing our due diligence, but there is no reason to believe – and nothing that we’ve been able to find at this point in time – that implicates the football program in any of that,” Radakovich said. “ It was a very unfortunate choice of words.”

The decision to not renew Smith’s $250,000 contract came on the heels of a meeting that included Smith, Radakovich and head basketball coach Brad Brownell. 

“I support the decision not to renew Steve Smith’s contract,” Brownell said in a statement issued by the school.

Last Friday Radakovich expressed confidence in Brownell and the manner in which he’s run his basketball program for the past nine years.

“There’s nothing in anything that’s been put out there right now that implicates Coach Brownell – I want to be real clear about that,” Radakovich said.

The current trial is the second of three trials focused on fraud and bribery in college basketball. Former Clemson basketball player Merl Code Jr., a consultant for Adidas, was among two defendants found guilty on multiple counts of fraud in the first case last October and was sentenced to a six-month prison sentence on March 5.

Clemson isn’t the only football program to be mentioned during the trial. Marty Blazer, a Pittsburgh financial adviser, testified last week that he funneled payments to football players from several big-time schools, including Alabama, Notre Dame, Michigan, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Northwestern and North Carolina over a 13-year period beginning in 2000.

“There are a lot of schools around the country that are dealing with some of this right now and my big thing is if we’re going to deal with it we’re going to do it in an up-front, transparent way and make the best decision for Clemson,” Radakovich said.

The 46-year-old Smith is a native of Hampton. He previously was an assistant coach at Georgia Southern and USC Upstate as well as an assistant women’s coach at Allen University. 

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