Losing assistant coach Dave Smart a significant blow for Texas Tech basketball

The Texas Tech basketball program will have to fill some important shoes with the departure of assistant coach Dave Smart.
Texas Tech's assistant men's basketball coach Dave Smart gives instructions during the team's first
Texas Tech's assistant men's basketball coach Dave Smart gives instructions during the team's first / Annie Rice/Avalanche-Journal / USA TODAY

Every basketball team in America is going to undergo change each offseason. That's certainly true of the Texas Tech basketball team which will have at least five scholarships to fill. However, the biggest piece Texas Tech may have to replace could be assistant coach Dave Smart.

Wednesday, Smart was officially announced as the head coach of the University of the Pacific in California. That is a significant loss for the Red Raiders.

“I also want to thank Grant McCasland and everyone else at Texas Tech for the opportunity they gave me last season, which was a tremendous experience," he said in a statement on Wednesday. "My family and I can't wait to get to Stockton to put down roots and get to work."

In all, Smart has 656 career wins in the Canadian ranks. Now, he's ready to work his way up the American college ladder.

Smart was with the Red Raiders for only one season. However, his offensive expertise was a huge component of the program's success in the first season of the Grant McCasland era.

This year, despite losing five of the top six scorers from 2022-23, the Red Raiders had one of the better offenses in the NCAA. The team ranked No. 27 overall in the KenPom.com adjusted offensive efficiency rating, an estimation of how many points the team scored per 100 possessions.

That was due in large part to the system Smart brought with him from the Canadian college basketball ranks. North of the border, Smart is considered a legendary college figure and his hiring by the Red Raiders was widely lauded as a shrewd move.

From 1999 to 2019, he led Canada's Carleton Ravens to 13 U Sports National Championships, the Canadian equivalent of an NCAA National Title in America. He was also an assistant coach on the Canadian men's national team.

In July of last year, he accepted a position on McCasland's staff. With him, he brought an offensive expertise and during the recently-completed season, he was tasked with coordinating the Red Raider scoring attack.

Many credit Smart for helping McCasland learn to increase the tempo that his team played with this season. While at North Texas, McCasland's teams were among the most deliberate teams in the NCAA but this year, the Red Raiders were more up-tempo and shot more 3-pointers than anyone expected. That was due in large part to Smart's influence.

Now, the Red Raiders must find another offensive-minded coach to fill Smart's shoes. It will need to be someone who can implement innovative schemes and get the most of out the talent on the roster the way Smart did. That's going to be one of the most important moves McCasland has to make this offseason.