Sonny Smith

Sonny Smith (born November 15, 1936)

Teams coached: East Tennessee State Buccaneers, Auburn Tigers, VCU Rams
East Tennessee State record: 30-23 (.566)
Auburn record: 173-154 (.529)
VCU record: 136-127 (.517)
Overall record: 339-304 (.527)

Career Accomplishments:

  • NCAA National Championships:  0   
  • NCAA Tournament Appearances:  6  (1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1996)
  • NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen:  2  (1985, 1986)
  • NCAA Tournament Final Four:  0   
  • NIT Championships:  0   
  • NIT Appearances:  1  (1993)
  • CAA Regular Season Champion:  1  (1996)
  • CAA Tournament Champion:  1  (1996)
  • SEC Tournament Champion:  1  (1985)


Coaching Career (head coach, unless noted):

1989-1998 VCU
1978-1989 Auburn
1976-1978 East Tennessee State
1971-1976 Virginia Tech (asst)
1970-1971 Pepperdine (asst)
1969-1970 William & Mary (asst)

Sonny Smith Facts

  • Charles H. Smith
  • Born November 15, 1936
  • Hometown: Roan Mountain, Tennessee
  • Alma Mater: Milligan College (BA, 1958)
  • Played at Holmes CC (MS) for two seasons before finishing his career and degree at NAIA Milligan College in his native TN
  • Began his coaching career in 1969 as an assistant to Warren Mitchell in William & Mary
  • Spent one year as an assistant to Gary Colson at Pepperdine and then five years assisting Don DeVoe at Virginia Tech before becoming the head coach
  • Was the head coach at East Tennessee State for two seasons, going 30-23 overall
  • Left ETSU in 1978 to be the head coach at Auburn, leading the Tigers for eleven seasons
    • Reached five straight NCAA Tournaments, including a Sweet Sixteen in 1985 and Elite Eight in 1986
    • Noted for coaching Charles Barkley, who was named SEC POY in 1984, drafted 5th overall in the NBA Draft and was later inducted into both the College Basketball and Naismith Memorial Halls of Fame
  • Finished his coaching career with a nine-year tenure at VCU, winning the CAA title and Tournament in 1996 to take the Rams to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in eleven years
    • Retired from coaching following the 1997-98 season, with 339 career victories in 22 seasons as a Division I head coach
  • Hosted a radio show on WJOX-AM Birmingham (AL) with friend and fellow retired coach Wimp Sanderson from 2000-2006
  • Worked as a color commentator for Atlantic Sun games on CSS from 2003 to 2014 and now does radio commentary for Auburn basketball games on the Auburn Sports Network

Sonny Smith Coaching Tree