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SoCalHoops Recruiting News

UCR's Rusty Smith Named
Head Coach At Sequoias--(Aug. 14, 2001)

Today's Riverside Press-Enterprise reports that Rusty Smith, a longtime assistant to UC Riverside head coach John Masi, has resigned as the No. 1 assistant and will take the head coaching job vacated by George Tarkanian at College of the Sequoias, a JUCO program located in Visalia.   Tarkanian left COS at the end of the season, reportedly to take a job at Southern Nevada JC (which shares the same campus as Green Valley HS in Henderson, Nevada, the adidas Big Time Tournament headquarters).  COS had some problems this past season with recruiting violations which put the program on probation.  Sequoias finished 23-6 last year despite the troubles, but Smith will be rebuilding largely from scratch. 

Smith has been an assistant at Riverside for the past six seasons. Prior to coming to UCR, he was an assistant with CSUN and at Eastern Washingtohn.   Rusty also played pro ball in Europe for seven seasons from 1976-83.    He's an excellent recruiter, and those of us who have spent our days during NCAA "open evaluation" periods at events like Rockfish, the Pumps' and Dinos' tournaments, have gotten to know Rusty well and appreciate the job he's done.  And, as the P-E noted in the story today, he "played a large role in the recruitment of 6-foot-6 forward John Galbreath from Big Bend (Wash.) Community College and 6-4 guard Jake Wessel from Indian Hills (Iowa) CC -- UCR's highest-profile out-of-state recruits in years."

According to the P-E story, coach Masi not only hired Darren French in July to replace Ricky Croy as the part-time assistant (Croy took an assistant's job at Concordia University in Irvine) but he's also moved up Reggie Howard to the no. 1 assistant.  Masi told the paper that he hopes to have another assistant hired by September 8, perhaps to insure that someone stays on campus while the other two coaches make home visits or do other off-campus recruiting (although what that "off-campus" stuff will be, other than home visits, is largely up in the air right now because it's uncertain which events, if any, will be certified by the NCAA, but that's a different story).

Congratulations to Coach Smith on the new job.

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