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Lamont Smith named San Diego's new head coach

The Toreros are moving on from Bill Grier by bringing back one of their own.

The USD Mascot, Diego Torero.
The USD Mascot, Diego Torero.
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The University of San Diego announced today that Lamont Smith will take over as head coach, ending a barely two week long search to replace Bill Grier.

Smith, who has spent the past two seasons as an assistant at the University of New Mexico, is a graduate of USD and served as a captain for the Toreros from 1997 through 1999. He was twice named USD's defensive player of the year and has a reputation as a defensively minded coach. He has been an assistant on four NCAA Tournament teams, most recently in 2014.

His prior West Coast Conference experience is not just limited to his playing days as he was an assistant at Saint Mary's for the first six seasons (2001-2007) of Randy Bennett's tenure. He then spent the 2007-2008 season as Kerry Keating's top assistant.

Outside the WCC Smith has been a graduate assistant at Saint Louis (1999-2001), an assistant at Arizona State (2008-2012) and the 2012-2013 season at the University of Washington.

The Toreros made just one NCAA Tournament appearance under previous head coach Bill Grier, in 2008, and posted a 117-144 record over eight seasons.

San Diego went 15-16 this season, 8-10 in WCC play (5th). The Toreros are losing four seniors from that team.

After multiple seasons of stagnation despite having one of the best four year backcourt duos in the country, Johnny Dee and Christopher Anderson, it was very reasonable for the Toreros to part ways with Grier. They're not making a radical change, however, in bringing in Smith.

Grier's teams were among the best in the WCC on the defensive end but struggled scoring the ball. By hiring a defensive minded coach in Smith they look to remain strong on that end but will need to improve on offense if they can climb in the WCC standings.