Bev Smith won’t return to Oregon

To no one’s surprise, eight-year Oregon coach Bev Smith‘s contract won’t be renewed. The announcement was made just a short time ago:

http://www.goducks.com/ViewArticle.dbml?&ATCLID=3694061&DB_OEM_ID=500

Though I expected it, it’s tremendously sad for me. Bev Smith was my first basketball hero – she was pretty much the reason I got into the sport in the first place.

I remember how they honored her on senior night in 1982, with a special ceremony and lots of signs in the rafters. I remember how, a short time later, Oregon lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, on March 13, 1982, to Mizzou. I remember the picture of Bev, anguished on the bench, in the paper the next morning – a Sunday. And that day, I went for a run for the first time.

It’s 27 years later and I’m still running, and I am enjoying the benefits of having been an athlete for most of my life: strong heart, low cholesterol, etc. I owe it to Bev Smith for the original inspiration.

I have no idea why she wasn’t able to be an effective coach for Oregon, and I appreciate how excruciating it must have been for Oregon officials to dismiss her. I hope that Bev will find happiness in future endeavors, whatever they are. Her legacy as a player remains the same as it has been for almost three decades.

Edit March 17 to add link from the Register Guard: http://www.registerguard.com/csp/cms/sites/web/sports/9848491-41/story.csp

Kilkenny said senior associate athletic directors Renee Baumgartner and Joe Giansante would join him on a search committee for Smith’s replacement. Kilkenny said he’d like to have a new coach in place within 30 days.

With a new arena on the horizon, the Ducks want a coach with name recognition who will play an up-tempo, high-scoring style that will be attractive to both traditional women’s basketball fans and newcomers to the sport.

As an Oregon alumni, I’d like to see this too. I have an Oregon women’s basketball T-shirt in my closet that I haven’t worn for a long time.

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