After being hired in the summer of 2016, Jay Smith guided the Hornets to a four-win improvement in 2016-17, his first season as the program's head coach.
Smith brought 31 years of collegiate coaching experience to Kalamazoo, including 10 years as a head coach at Grand Valley State University and Central Michigan University.
"I am elated to accept the position of head men's basketball coach at Kalamazoo College," Smith said at the time of his hire. "I am looking forward to the challenge of taking this program and molding it into a championship culture. It is going to take time and patience to create the brand that we as a unit can believe in and thrive in for years to come."
Prior to coming to K, Smith was an assistant coach at University of Detroit Mercy from 2008-16. The 2015-16 team ranked eighth in the nation in scoring (84.1 ppg) and scored 90 or more points nine times. Smith helped the Titans to an NCAA Tournament appearance in 2012 and an NIT Tournament appearance in 2013.
Smith was the head coach at Central Michigan University for nine years (1998-2006). His time with the Chippewas led to a pair of Mid-American Conference (MAC) regular season championships, a MAC Tournament championship, and a trip to the NCAA Tournament. His 2002-03 team had wins over Michigan, No. 23 Notre Dame and No. 15 Creighton in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Smith recruited and coached Chris Kaman, the 2003 MAC Player of the Year and sixth overall pick in the 2003 NBA Draft (Los Angeles Clippers).
Prior to CMU, Smith was the head coach at Grand Valley State University in 1996-97 where he guided the Lakers to a 23-6 overall record, Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) regular season and tournament championships, and an NCAA II Tournament appearance.
Smith was an assistant coach at the University of Michigan for seven years (1989-96) where he helped the Wolverines to six NCAA Tournaments and two Final Four appearances while coaching All-Americans Rumeal Robinson and Chris Webber along with All-Big Ten selections Juwan Howard, Jalen Rose and Ray Jackson. Before Michigan, Smith was an assistant at Kent State for five years (1984-89) where he helped the Golden Flashes to a pair of NIT Tournament appearances.
Smith earned a bachelor's degree in physical education with a business minor at Saginaw Valley State University in 1984 and a master's degree in sports administration at Kent State in 1986. He played one year of basketball at Bowling Green State University (1989-90) before playing his final three years at Saginaw Valley State where the Cardinals posted a 60-32 record (32-16 GLIAC) during his career. Smith played high school basketball at Mio Au Sable and still holds the Michigan state record for career scoring with 2,841 points.
Smith is the 14th head coach in the 100-plus year history of Kalamazoo College's men's basketball program.
"There will be a major focus on teaching and developing winning habits that will carry us both on and off the court," Smith said. "We will work diligently from day one to make sure we are recruiting high character student-athletes and putting them in a position to be successful by taking the 'LEAP' ; Love, Excellence, Accountability, and Passion.
"This is a tremendous day for my family and me, and we are extremely fortunate to be welcomed into the Kalamazoo College community and to be part of something special."