Jay Smith

Jay Smith (born June 21, 1961)

Teams coached: Grand Valley State Lakers, Central Michigan Chippewas, Kalamazoo Hornets
Grand Valley State record: 23-6 (.793)
Central Michigan record: 95-160 (.373)
Kalamazoo record: 22-52 (.297)
Overall record^: 140-218 (.391)

Career Accomplishments:


Coaching Career (head coach, unless noted):

2019-2024 Michigan (DPP)
2016-2019 Kalamazoo
2008-2016 Detroit (asst)
1997-2006 Central Michigan
1996-1997 Grand Valley State
1989-1996 Michigan (asst)
1984-1989 Kent State (asst)

Jay Smith Facts

  • Jay Steven Smith
  • Born June 21, 1961
  • Hometown: Mio, Michigan
  • Alma Mater: Saginaw Valley State University (BA, 1984) / Kent State University (MA, 1986)
  • Attended Mio-Au Sable HS (MI), graduating in 1979 as the all-time leading scorer in Michigan HS basketball history
    • Retroactively named Michigan’s 1979 Mr. Basketball by the BCAM, as the award didn’t officially start until 1981
    • Played one year at Bowling Green for John Weinert before finishing his degree and career at Sagninaw Valley State (MI)
  • Started his coaching career in 1984 at Kent State, where he was an assistant under Jim McDonald for five seasons
  • Joined Steve Fisher‘s staff at Michigan in 1989, working with the Wolverines for the next seven seasons
    • Was a part of the (later vacated) back-to-back NCAA Runner-up seasons headlined by the “Fab Five”
  • Left UM in 1996 to be the head coach at D-II Grand Valley State in Allendale, MI; went 23-6 in his lone season there
  • Hired in 1997 to be the head coach at Central Michigan, leading the Chippewas for nine seasons
    • Started slow, winning just 21 games in his first three seasons combined, before going 20-8 (14-4) in year four and winning a share of the 2001 MAC regular season title
    • Two years later, CMU won the MAC again, then claimed the 2003 MAC Tournament crown for an NCAA Tournament bid
    • The team was led from 2000-03 by 2003 MAC Player of the Year and future NBA Lottery Pick Chris Kaman
    • However, the team again struggled and won just 20 games total over his final three seasons; Smith was fired in 2006
  • After a year off, Smith joined new Detroit head coach Ray McCallum‘s staff; assisted there for McCallum’s full eight-year tenure
    • Was a part of the Titans 2012 NCAA Tournament berth and 2013 NIT berth the following season
  • When McCallum was let go in 2016, Smith ended up getting hired to be the head coach at D-III Kalamazoo College (MI)
    • Went 22-52 over three seasons before resigning in 2019 to take a position at Michigan
  • Worked under Wolverines’ head coach Juwan Howard, whom Smith helped recruit to UM, as director of player personnel from 2019-24

Jay Smith Coaching Tree

  • Tim Kisner (Oklahoma City)
  • Cornell Mann (Grand Valley State)
  • Mark Montgomery (Detroit Mercy, Northern Illinois)


^ overall record includes head coaching positions at the NCAA Division I, Division II and Division III levels