The People’s Champ is continuing to climb the coaching ranks in Durham.
Duke announced Thursday morning that director of operations and player development Nolan Smith was promoted to assistant coach. Smith started his coaching career with the Blue Devils in 2016, and since then has risen from special assistant, to his most recent title, and now to assistant coach.
"The game of basketball has been a blessing in my life, and so has Coach K and Duke University," Smith said in the team’s official release. "Duke Basketball has meant the world to my family and me and I'm honored and humbled to be named an assistant coach. So many coaches, including Coach K, have meant so much to me and made such a positive impact on my life.
"I can't wait to help teach and develop the young Brotherhood stars and hopefully have a similar impact on them. I look forward to working with and learning from the great staff that we have at Duke with Jon [Scheyer] and Chris [Carrawell] and I can't wait to get started."
The release added that Smith will speak to the media at 3:30 p.m. Thursday following the promotion.
Smith has a fond place in the hearts of the Cameron Crazies after his role in Duke’s 2010 national championship run, but he has also made a name for himself within the Durham community. His work giving back to the community and promoting social justice earned him recognition as October’s Tar Heel of the Month by The News & Observer this past year.
“We're very fortunate that [Smith] and his wife Cheyna are so involved in our program and our community,” head coach Mike Krzyzewski said in the release. “He is a national champion and has been such a great member of my staff as director of basketball operations, but he's done so much more for our school and our community. Nolan has always used his platform for the good of others. We are so lucky to have him and Durham is even luckier.”
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Jake Piazza is a Trinity senior and was sports editor of The Chronicle's 117th volume.