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A standout collegiate coach and decorated student athlete at Kent State has been named the new head coach of Colby women’s basketball. Chenel Harris-Smith comes to Colby from St. Francis College in Brooklyn, N.Y., where she was associate head coach.
“We are thrilled to welcome Coach Harris-Smith and her family to Colby,” said Jake Olkkola, the Harold Alfond Director of Athletics at Colby. “Coach Harris-Smith is a proven recruiter who has mentored some of the nation’s best women’s basketball players. She cares deeply about the student-athlete experience and we believe she will lead our basketball program to prominence within the NESCAC and beyond.”
Harris-Smith’s coaching career has included assistant roles at the University of Arkansas, Stony Brook University, and Binghamton University. As an assistant coach with Binghamton in 2017, Harris-Smith helped the women’s basketball team to a new record for season wins, 20, en route to the program’s first postseason tournament invitation and victory.
“Words cannot express the level of excitement that I have to embark on this journey as the new head women’s basketball coach at Colby College,” said Harris-Smith. “I would like to thank the administration for entrusting me with the responsibility of leading this special group of individuals and pushing the culture forward.”
Harris-Smith has a strong record of recruiting student-athletes to highly competitive Division I programs, like the University of Arkansas and Binghamton University, and developing their skills to achieve high levels of athletic success.
She has recruited and/or coached more than a dozen all-conference players during her career, including Binghamton’s standout guard Imani Watkins, who was the America East Conference Player of the Year in 2017-18 and became the school’s all-time leading scorer.
As a player, Harris-Smith earned all-conference accolades during her career as a forward at Kent State, where she was team captain during her senior year in 2010-11. Harris-Smith was also captain of the Trinidad and Tobago national women’s basketball team in 2011.
A native of Mississauga, Ontario, Harris-Smith has a bachelor’s degree in business management from Kent State and a master’s degree in athletic leadership from Rider University of New Jersey.
She and her husband, Sean Smith, are parents to twin boys, Elijah and Emmanuel.