JaJuan Smith named KCHS boys basketball coach

The former University of Tennessee standout was an assistant coach for the Fighting Irish in the 2023-24 season

Mr. Smith

Former University of Tennessee basketball player JaJuan Smith has been named the new boys basketball head coach at Knoxville Catholic High School.

He met with his new team on the afternoon of March 5.

A Cleveland, Tenn., native, Mr. Smith served as assistant coach for KCHS during the 2023-24 season. Before joining the Fighting Irish family, he spent two years as the assistant head coach at Speights Academy in Florida. The team had two undefeated seasons and were two-time post-grad national champions.

Mr. Smith is a basketball enthusiast with a rich background in the sport. After a short stint in the NBA with the Dallas Mavericks, he went on to play more than a decade of professional basketball overseas. Mr. Smith played in Turkey, France, and Croatia.

He was a shooting guard for the University of Tennessee from 2004 to 2008. During his four-year career in Knoxville, Mr. Smith earned All-SEC defensive first-team honors in 2008 and amassed 253 career 3-pointers (third for the Volunteers all-time), 183 steals (fourth all-time), and 1,384 career points.

In addition to his playing, Mr. Smith has also made a mark as a coach, having trained and coached AAU teams and post-grad players. His passion for developing young talent and helping players reach their full potential is evident in his coaching style. His unique perspective as a former player at various levels brings a valuable perspective to his coaching, allowing him to mentor and guide aspiring athletes effectively, according to a Knoxville Catholic press release.

“Coach Smith brings a wealth of basketball knowledge to our program,” said KCHS athletics director Jason Surlas. “From his humble beginning as a walk-on player at Tennessee to leaving in the record books, along with a long professional career, allows him to relate to players and push them to never settle for anything less than being great. JaJuan is dedicated to developing their talents as athletes and building their character as young men. He is committed to fostering a culture of teamwork, discipline, and excellence.”

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