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Charmin Smith Returns to Cal As Women’s Basketball Head Coach

Smith had left the Bears to join the WNBA just two months ago.

Charmin Smith’s Twitter profile pic.
@21charmin on Twitter (Her Profile Pic)

Cal Women’s Basketball announces that former assistant coach Charmin Smith has returned to the Bears as Head Coach. Although she didn’t miss any actual games, she did leave shortly after the NCAA WBB season ended to join the WNBA’s New York Liberty. (Reuniting with Brittany Boyd and Reshanda Gray).

Her hire came after the well publicized departure of Lindsay Gottlieb to join the Cleveland Cavaliers as the first female college head coach to join an NBA staff. Gottlieb was asked about the new hire:

“I’m really excited for Charmin, I’m thrilled for our student-athletes, and I’m very proud of Cal, because I think this is a phenomenal hire all the way around. Charmin has played and coached in Final Fours, she has two engineering degrees from Stanford, she was my right-hand person for years, and now she’s the head coach at Cal. This women’s basketball program that I care about so much is going to thrive under her leadership and I truly believe the best is in front of us.”

Smith has been on Cal WBB’s staff since 2007, dating back to Joanne Boyle’s staff. When Gottlieb became the HC in 2012 Smith was promoted to the associate head coach position.

While she technically has never been a head coach, that is not to say she’s unqualified. She is largely credited with Cal’s recent success on the court and developing multiple WNBA players, including Boyd and recent 1st round pick Kristine Anigwe. She played in multiple final fours (for rival Stanford) and also played in the WNBA. Prior to joining Cal, she was an assistant for Tara Vanderveer as Stanford made a pair of Elite Eight appearances.

After Gottlieb’s departure, recruit Lauren Fields decided to be released from her letter of intent to look for other options. Earlier this week, Cal’s star freshmen/sophomore-to-be McKenzie Forbes announced that she would leave Cal to look for another school and actually name-dropped Charmin Smith as her reason for leaving. (My apologies on behalf of CGB for not having its own post for that, I was going to make one today right when I saw the announcement of Charmin’s hiring!)

This could add to the optimism that both could decide to return, but it is too soon to say.

Other remaining Cal players are celebrating the move.

The post will be updated with more details, and we will cover the press conference (Tuesday at 11am) when the time comes on Twitter/Instagram at GoldenBlogs.