Steve Smith hired to replace Rick Ray as assistant at Clemson

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It hasn’t been the easiest assistant coaching search for Clemson since Rick Ray left to become the head coach at Mississippi State.

Following a two-month search and one false alarm of a hiring, the Tigers’ bench is now officially set.

Clemson has released a statement, announcing that Georgia State assistant Steve Smith will become part of the Tiger coaching staff, serving in the capacity.

“Steve is a terrific person with some very special life experiences,” Clemson head coach Brad Brownell said in a statement. “He has a good feel for the game and will be a good teacher and mentor to our players. He has strong recruiting ties in the Southeast and a real passion for Clemson.”

Smith, a South Carolina native, has been with Georgia Southern the past two seasons. The Panthers finished the 2011-12 season with an overall record of 15-15, including 12-6 in the SoCon.

During his time as a player, he spent two seasons with Morgan State, before enlisting in the military.

For Clemson, Smith becomes the man to replace Ray, after former Virginia Tech assistant James Johnson, hired and ready to become part of the staff, returned to become the Hokies’ head coach, following the dismissal of Seth Greenberg.

“It’s a highly respected academic institution and well thought of across the country,” said Smith in a statement. “When Coach Brownell got here, it was an attractive position for me. I really like his brand of basketball and like him as a person, as well as the staff they have in place. That sold me on this opportunity.”

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_