LEXINGTON, Ky. – University of Kentucky women’s basketball assistant coach Amber Smith (pictured) has been honored by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association and named a Thirty under 30 coach, which recognizes 30 up-and-coming women’s basketball coaches age 30 and under at all levels of the game.
According to the WBCA release, each honoree has exemplified their involvement in community service, mentorship and impact on others, professional manner, and attitude and professional association involvement.
Smith, who has spent the past two seasons as women's basketball's director of player development, was promoted to assistant coach in May 2018 and is in her first season on the court coaching with the Wildcats.
Smith has been instrumental in the success of the Kentucky women's basketball program the past two season in a support staff role, helping coordinate student-athlete community service while working with the players off the court in a variety of areas. While serving as the director of player development, the UK women's basketball program made history with two players selected in the 2017 WNBA Draft in third-overall pick Evelyn Akhator and 33rd-overall pick Makayla Epps. Akhator was the highest draft pick in program history.
Smith returned to Lexington in the spring of 2016 as the director of player development after spending three years in the coaching ranks at the Division I level. The native of Winter Haven, Fla., started her coaching career as a graduate assistant coach at Tennessee before a two-year stint as an assistant coach at Louisiana Tech, where her main roles were recruiting and on-court development. During her time in Knoxville the Lady Vols won 29 games, including winning the Southeastern Conference Tournament Championship and advancing to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16.
A member of the most successful senior class in Kentucky women’s basketball history, Smith played in 123 career games for UK at guard with 109 starts. She was a member of the 2008 SEC All-Freshman Team and ranks seventh all-time in program history in assists and eighth all-time in assists per game. During her tenure, Smith averaged 7.0 points per game and 3.4 assists per game, helping Kentucky advance to four consecutive postseason tournaments, including two trips to the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight.
Smith has been recognized nationally for her success after college as she was one of 50 participants chosen to attend the 11th-annual Women’s Basketball Coaches Association’s “So You Want To Be A Coach” program in April of 2013. Additionally, Smith was one of 12 recipients of the NCAA’s UPLIFT Registration Scholarship, allowing her to attend a professional development symposium for aspiring young basketball assistant coaches in 2014, and the Steve and Kaye Maynard Women’s Basketball Graduate Assistant Scholarship.
A May 2011 graduate from UK with a bachelor’s degree in integrated strategic communications, Smith is part of Mitchell’s 100% graduation rate at Kentucky.
UK Athletics Photo