SE Missouri basketball coach Smith resigns

Updated: December 6, 2006, 8:40 PM ET
Associated Press

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. -- Southeast Missouri women's coach B.J. Smith resigned Wednesday after he was placed on paid leave last month and did not coach this season.

The school and Smith said in a joint statement both sides have decided "it is in his and the university's best interests that he voluntarily resign from the university."

Athletic director Don Kaverman declined comment. He said in November the leave was for personal reasons, but did not elaborate.

Calls to Smith's office phone were not answered.

The Redhawks were 2-3 entering Thursday's Ohio Valley Conference opener at Tennessee State. Smith was in his fifth season at Southeast Missouri. Assistant John Ishee has served as acting head coach.

Under Smith, Southeast Missouri developed into an OVC power. The Redhawks were 22-9 last season, tied for first during the regular season and won the conference tournament to earn a spot in the NCAA Tournament, where they lost to Stanford in the opening round.

Smith was 79-41 overall at Southeast, 51-17 in the OVC. But the program has been under scrutiny since January over possible rules violations. The investigation was initiated by university president Kenneth Dobbins.

In June, the OVC cited violations in seven areas, including inappropriate transportation for prospective players, inappropriate lodging for prospective players before their enrollment and violations regarding summer activities with prospective players.

The university imposed seven sanctions recommended in the report, including a reduction in scholarships to 12 from 15 for this school year. Results of the NCAA investigation have not been announced.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press