Prairie View A&M University Athletic Director Ashley Robinson has announced that Byron Smith will remain as the school's head men's basketball coach. Smith becomes the sixth head coach in PVAMU NCAA Division I history and the 10th head coach since the 1956-57 campaign.
Prior to accepting the role of head coach, Smith spent the previous three seasons as an assistant at PVAMU. He was named interim head coach the final three months of the 2015-16 season.
"For the last two years, we have been steadily moving all of our Athletics programs forward. We have been hiring new coaches, building new facilities and attracting new fans. Hiring Coach Smith is a big step in moving our men's basketball program in a winning direction. We fully expect Coach Smith to bring a fresh approach, a new energy and a lot of excitement to the team," explained George C. Wright, president, Prairie View A&M University.
"I've observed Coach Smith on-and-off the court once the transition was made in January and I liked how the student-athletes gravitated towards him and fed off his energy and confidence," said PVAMU Athletic Director Ashley Robinson. "It showed as we finished the second half of the season with a winning record. I was also impressed on how he interacted with the PVAMU community and went out of his way to make them feel welcome when the opportunity presented itself. I feel he has the necessary characteristics to become a successful head coach as our men's program will be in good hands."
"I truly appreciate Dr. Wright and Mr. Robinson for showing confidence and faith in me that I can be the person who can lead this program to the next level," said Smith. "This is my divine assignment and I will take it very seriously. I want to build a basketball culture at Prairie View A&M and I want to also thank our students, alumni and fans for being so supportive through this process."
Elevated to the role of interim head coach in January, 2016, the Panthers quickly made the transition to Smith's style as they defeated conference rival and defending SWAC Champion Texas Southern for his first career win on Feb. 6. One week later, the Panthers defeated Grambling State for their first winning streak of the season and began a second half run which saw PVAMU close out the regular season with wins in four of the last six games. During PVAMU's late run, the Panthers defeated Arkansas-Pine Bluff for their first win in Pine Bluff, Ark. since 2005 and also defeated Southern University on their home court for the first time since 2010.