BARTOW | Andrea Smith was looking for a basketball head coaching position, and she received a word on Sunday and a phone call on Monday.
The former Lake Gibson standout was named the new Bartow girls basketball head coach Monday, taking over for Richard Murvin, who resigned in July.
“I just prayed about it and went to church Sunday and the pastor told me ‘God has a calling on my life.’ The next day I got a phone call and the job,” Smith said.
The former shooting guard played two seasons at the University of South Florida — with her twin sister Andrell — and was a 2012-13 All-Big East first team selection after finishing in the top three in conference scoring.
Smith and her sister also helped lead Gulf Coast State to the 2010 junior college national title where she was named the 2010 Junior College national player of the year.
Her sister Andrell is now an assistant at the University of Tampa, and her father Vic coached in Polk County for 35 years.
“I’m just following in my bloodline,” Smith said. “Coaching was always something I wanted to do. I always liked motivating players.”
Smith became only the second South Florida player ever drafted into the WNBA when she was the 35th overall pick in 2013. She also traveled to Poland and played for two teams in Europe before becoming a volunteer assistant coach at Saint Leo University for the 2013-14 season.
At South Florida, Smith tore her ACL and was redshirted heading into her senior season. She returned a year later was named to the 2012-13 All-Big East first team and finished in the top three balloting for conference player of the year honors.
Andrea has a bachelor’s degree in communications from South Florida and is “working out the details” to also teach at Bartow in the near future.
“We will play my style and Bartow’s style,” Smith said. “I was an offensive player, and I want to get this program to the next level. We’ll do something different on offense, and I will tweak it to my own style.”
This past season, Bartow finished 16-11 under Murvin.