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Livingstone College names new women’s basketball coach

Queen Smith, a Connecticut sports Hall of Famer and former assistant coach of the women’s basketball team at Yale University, was introduced Thursday as the new head women’s basketball coach at Livingstone College.

Livingstone officials announced Smith’s hiring on Tuesday and, two days later, held an introductory press conference on the Salisbury campus.

Before Livingstone, Smith worked at South Pointe High School in Rock Hill, where she led an academic program for exceptional STEAM students.

Smith takes over a Livingstone program that saw a tumultuous season. Former Blue Bears head coach Chiante Wester was suspended in the first semester following claims of “toxic bullying” within the program, HBCU Gameday reported.

Two interim coaches — Will Stanley and Maurice Sumpter — then led the team. They earned a combined 11-18 record, finishing fourth in the CIAA Southern Division.

Livingstone President Anthony J. Davis said Smith brings a “breadth of experience in coaching at multiple levels and a demonstrated record of accomplishment for fostering the personal development of the student-athlete.” 

“Livingstone College is fortunate to have attracted a coach of her caliber to Blue Bear nation,” Davis said in a statement. “ We are excited for her to cultivate passion, pride and purpose to our women’s basketball program.”

Hall of Fame career

Smith, a native of New Haven, Conn., was a standout tri-sport athlete, competing in volleyball (All-Area), outdoor track (All-State) and basketball (All-State, All-Conference). 

She played basketball at Quinnipiac College in Connecticut. A 5-foot-5 point guard, she finished with 1,207 points, 594 rebounds, 476 assists and 394 steals. 

She became a three-time Northeast Conference-10 Defensive Player of the Year – a feat no one else has ever accomplished. 

At the end of her collegiate career, Smith was ranked near the top in several statical categories at Quinnipiac College, including top 10 in scoring and top five in assists (476) and steals (394). 

Smith is a five-time hall of famer, including the Connecticut Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2022 and the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame chosen for the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference in 2016.

She graduated in 1996 with dual degrees in sociology, health and science studies.

After college, Smith returned to her hometown and worked as a career specialist with the New Haven Board of Education. Concurrently, she was a head coach for women’s volleyball, head coach for basketball and assistant outdoor track coach for Wilbur Cross High School, where she was named Coach of the Year by two separate organizations.

Smith became the activity director of the National Youth Sports Program at Yale, supervising all aspects of operations and project management. In 2007, she joined the school’s women’s basketball team as an assistant coach and, in 2011, helped the team earn its first postseason invitation.

That same year, Smith moved to North Carolina, where she lives with her husband, David Smith Sr., and their four children.

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