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Kyle Smithpeters added to complete Dennis Gates coaching staff

The John A Logan College Head Coach has been rumored to be the choice for weeks.

Dennis Gates is moving closer to having his full coaching staff in place. After weeks of speculation it looks like Smithpeters is close to be offiically announced as the final member of Gates coaching staff.

We first mentioned this likelihood in print (or pixels) after the report of Charlton Young being named Associated Head Coach on April 9th, but the rumors have been around since late March. PowerMizzou published an article this morning about Smithpeters being expected, and Dave Matter broke the news the contract is signed in the tweet above.

Smithpeters has been the head coach at John A. Logan College, a Junior College in the Southern Illinois town of Carterville, which is situated between Marion and Carbondale, and on top of Crab Orchard Lake. Prior to Smithpeters, John A. Logan was mirred in a long history of mediocrity, and Smithpeters has used his extensive local connections to build the program up to being one of the top JUCOs in the country.

Illinois JUCOs were rarely in contention for national championship spots but that all changed under the guidance of Smithpeters. By his third season they had won 27 games, and only one time after did they win fewer than 24 games. That season? A Covid shortened 2021 campaign where they went 18-5.

Smithpeters grew up in nearby Harrisburg, where he played for his father in high school, he played two seasons at Southeastern Illinois College before transferring to play for Chris Lowery at Southern Illinois from 2004 to 2006. Smithpeters participated in the run where SIU went to six straight NCAA tournaments under Bruce Weber, Matt Painter, and Lowery. He then went into coaching where he went back to Southeastern Illinois, spent time as an assistant at John A. Logan, and a season under Paul Lusk at Missouri State.

Since being at JAL, Smithpeters has helped multiple players to land Division 1 scholarships, including a familiar name in new Mizzou point guard Sean East. As well as Russell Woods and Martavian Payne, both of whom signed at Missouri under Kim Anderson in 2015. A few other names like Jay Scrubb (who went straight into the NBA Draft after winning the NJCAA National Player of the Year award), Jamarion Sharp, and Mario McKinney have all passed through Logan’s roster.

When asked about Smithpeters, Brandon Goble, a notable Junior College scout said “Yes [he’s] a JUCO coach but with lots of other experience and tied in deep to the area. [He] has developed pros and is a “players coach”. High level relationship skills and with that logo on his chest he’ll get a lot done.” High praise indeed.

I would expect an official announcment from the University of Missouri shortly.

Here is the official announcment:

COLUMBIA, Mo. – University of Missouri Whitten Family Men’s Basketball Head Coach Dennis Gates has added assistant coach Kyle Smithpeters to his staff.

He joins associate head coach Charlton Young and assistant coach Dickey Nutt on the bench, with all three Tigers assistants possessing former head coaching experience.

“Excited and grateful to be joining Coach Gates and his staff at Mizzou,” Smithpeters said. ”I have known Coach Gates for the better part of 15 years and his integrity and work ethic are at the highest standards. The opportunity to join a veteran staff at such a fine university was hard to pass up. The rich academic and athletic tradition represents everything a student-athlete should want.”

Smithpeters joins the Tigers following a successful 10-year stint as the head coach at John A. Logan Community College. He compiled an overall record of 241-73, including 20 or more wins in eight of the last nine seasons. He earned Great Rivers Athletic Conference Coach of the Year honors six times over his first eight seasons as a head coach.

“Kyle is a well-respected coach, regardless of level,” Gates said. “He is a great teacher, evaluator and recruiter. I have had a front row seat for 15 years watching him prepare for this opportunity, but also build John A. Logan College into the power it is today. After attempting to hire Coach Smithpeters three years ago, I am excited to see him join the greats who have made this transition before him. It’s no better time to welcome Coach Smithpeters and his family to our staff, the city of Columbia and Mizzou.”

In his time at the helm of the Volunteers, Smithpeters coached seven All-Americans and two NJCAA Players of the Year, sending over 40 players to Division 1 programs. Smithpeters led John A. Logan to a 29-4 overall record in 2021-22, along with a Region 24 Championship, NJCAA Central District title and an appearance in the NJCAA Division 1 Men’s Basketball Championship.

“I have a tremendous respect for the opportunities and development that NJCAA basketball continues to give both players and coaches,” said Gates. “As we move into the new landscape of Division 1 basketball, JUCO coaches have the competitive advantage of building championship teams under the same conditions that can be seen now while navigating the current model.”

Smithpeters began his coaching career at Southeastern Illinois before first serving as an assistant at John A. Logan for four seasons. Smithpeters then worked under head coach Paul Lusk at Missouri State for the 2011-12 season before taking over at the helm for the Volunteers.

A native of southern Illinois, Smithpeters played two seasons of basketball at Southeastern Illinois College and helped lead his team to a final four appearance in 2003. Following his success at Southeastern, he continued his collegiate career at Southern Illinois helping the Salukis to two-straight NCAA Tournament berths.

Kyle Smithpeters Coaching Career

2006-07 - Southeastern Illinois College – Assistant Coach

2007-2011 – John A. Logan CC – Assistant Coach

2011-12 – Missouri State – Assistant Coach

2012-22 – John A. Logan CC – Head Coach