Cal hires former assistant, Stanford star as new women's basketball coach

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BERKELEY — Cal found a familiar face in Charmin Smith to replace Lindsay Gottlieb as women’s basketball coach.

Smith returns to a campus where she most recently served as a top assistant since 2012 before joining the WNBA’s New York Liberty as an assistant coach in April. Gottlieb departed last week to become an assistant coach with the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers.

The announcement was made Friday by athletic director Jim Knowlton and Smith will be formally introduced at a news conference at Cal on Tuesday. She joined the Cal staff under then-coach Joanne Boyle in 2007-08, then stayed after Gottlieb took over in 2011.

“With a dozen years as a member of our staff under both Joanne Boyle and Lindsay Gottlieb, she has a deep understanding of Cal and Cal basketball,” Knowlton said. “She has played an integral role in the most successful seasons in our history, including trips to multiple NCAA Tournaments, a Final Four and a Pac-12 championship. Charmin is committed to supporting student-athletes in all aspects of their lives, helping them thrive academically, athletically and personally, and she has a clear vision that builds upon the foundation already established here in Berkeley. Charmin has prepared her entire career for this opportunity, and I believe she is ready to lead our program to even greater heights.”

As a college star at Stanford from 1993-97, Smith led the Cardinal to three Final Four appearances and three Pac-10 titles. She then played in the former ABL and the WNBA.

Smith coached as an assistant at Boston College for one season in 2003, then worked as an assistant under Hall of Fame Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer before moving to Cal.

“I am excited and honored to have the opportunity to lead this program and the amazing young women in it,” Smith said. “I am grateful to Jim Knowlton for trusting me to keep building the tradition of excellence that is Cal basketball. I also cannot thank Katie Smith enough for giving me the opportunity to coach alongside her in the WNBA as well as general manager Jonathan Kolb for trusting her hire. The experience with the New York Liberty only furthered my passion for and commitment to the game. Berkeley has been my home for the last 12 years and has made a lasting mark on my life.”

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