Davis Hires First Two Assistants
Courtesy: Courtesy Photo
Keno Davis has begun his first staff at CMU with NBA veteran Kevin Gamble and former Chippewa assistant Jeff Smith.
MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. - Keno Davis, hired at the beginning of the month as head men's basketball coach, has announced the addition of two assistant coaches - Jeff Smith and Kevin Gamble - to his first Central Michigan staff.

Gamble was a member of Davis' staff at Providence while Smith, a Michigan native, is a former Chippewa assistant.

Gamble, a 10-year NBA veteran, left an eight-year stint as a college head coach to spend the 2010-11 season as the Friars' coordinator of player development and video operations, heading up the program's academics, student-athlete development and video efforts.

"I feel very fortunate to have Kevin on our staff," said Davis. "His experiences as a head coach and professional player give us a unique perspective and he will really help our student-athletes reach their potential both on and off the court. He was known for not only his ability to score but also for being one of the better defenders at his position."

A member of the 1986-87 Iowa team that won 30 games and advanced to the Elite 8 under Davis' father, Gamble was selected by the Portland Trailblazers in the third round of the 1987 NBA Draft. He played with the Boston Celtics from 1988-94 and finished his career with the Sacramento Kings in 1996.

Prior to joining the Friars, Gamble served as the first head coach at the University of Illinois-Springfield where he put together a 130-79 record and earned a pair of American Midwest Conference Coach of the Year honors.

Smith returns to his roots in the state of Michigan for his second stint as a Chippewa assistant. He originally joined the CMU men's program as a graduate assistant in May 1997 and served in that capacity for two years before being promoted to assistant coach. Shortly thereafter, he helped the 2000-01 Chippewas to a 20-8 record and a Mid-American Conference title. Smith was on the CMU bench until September 2002 when he joined the staff at Oakland.

"Jeff's knowledge of Michigan and understanding of what it takes to win at Central Michigan and in the MAC make him the right fit for us," said Davis. "He has a national reputation as a tireless worker and someone who has been successful at every stop. I am very excited to welcome him back home and let him utilize his in-roads around the country and specifically in the state."

The Bay City native and 1995 Alma College graduate became the associate head coach at Oakland, helping the Golden Grizzlies to a 2005 Mid-Continent Conference Tournament championship and a win in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament. He was largely responsible for a 2005 recruiting class that was ranked 23rd in the nation by Hoop Scoop. After a successful five-year tenure that included two Mid-Con Players of the Year, Smith joined Jim Boylen's staff at Utah and helped the Utes to the 2009 Mountain West Conference title and a No. 5 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Smith played for two seasons at Alma College before a knee injury ended his career. He then worked with the program for two years as a student assistant and was named Alma's head junior varsity coach during his senior season. He was an assistant coach at Albion College from 1995-97.



  Birthdate   July 4, 1972
  Hometown   Bay City, Mich.
  Education   Alma College
Central Michigan
  Playing Career   Alma College, 1990-92
Jeff Smith   Coaching Career   Alma College, head JV coach (1994-95)
Albion College, assistant coach (1995-97)
Central Michigan, graduate assistant (1997-99)
Central Michigan, assistant coach (1999-02)
Oakland, assistant coach (2002-05)
Oakland, associate head coach (2005-07)
Utah, assistant coach (2007-11)
UC-Riverside, assistant coach (2011-12)


  Birthdate   November 13, 1965
  Hometown   Springfield, Ill.
  Education   Lincoln (Ill.) College
  Playing Career   Lincoln College (1983-85)
Iowa (1985-87)
NBA (1987-97)
Kevin Gamble        
    Coaching Career   Illinois-Springfield, head coach (2002-10)
Providence, assistant coach (2010-11)