Livingstone introduces new head women’s basketball coach Queen Smith

Published 3:38 pm Thursday, April 27, 2023

Livingstone News Service

SALISBURY — Livingstone College President Dr. Anthony J. Davis officially introduced the new women’s basketball head coach, Queen Smith, to the campus community Thursday during a press conference and reception.

“I’m excited, enthusiastic and encouraged,” Davis said. “Athletics on the campus of Livingstone College is very important. On our campus, they are students first. We wanted someone to come who would have the capacity to work with young women using the game of basketball to get them ready and prepared for life.”

Queen Smith

Smith is a five-time Hall of Famer, who served as assistant coach for Yale University’s women’s basketball team. She catapulted one team’s record from a 0-19 record to a 20-0 regular season within five years.

Winning is important, but Davis said it was more crucial to hire a coach who was a worker; a coach who was willing; and a coach who was a winner.

Livingstone’s women’s basketball team has made some great strides, “but we play in a competitive conference (CIAA),” he said. Livingstone needed someone willing to take on the challenge of coming to an institution that doesn’t have the resources that others have.

Davis was aware of Smith’s athletic prowess. She was a student at the high school where his mother, the late Wanda Gibbs, served as assistant principal in Connecticut. “She was a high school standout and a collegiate standout. In Division I basketball, she was a great coach and recruiter,” Davis said.

While attending his mother’s funeral last year, Davis ran into Smith at a restaurant and she informed him that she now lived in Rock Hill, S.C. When an opportunity for the head coach position at Livingstone became available, the two reconnected.

“She came to the interview with a portfolio, a PowerPoint and a plan,” Davis said. “She said, ‘I want to build on what you have.’ That is the character that we have in this leader and I’m so grateful to have her be a part of Blue Bear nation.”

In her remarks, Smith thanked a long list of mentors who had an impact on her life; Dr. Davis for the opportunity; and the Livingstone men’s basketball staff for giving her guidance.

She also thanked the Livingstone women’s basketball team. “When going through this process, I would come to games and watch them and how they interacted with others. When I stepped on campus, I would keep my door open, and they would greet me with a smile and hug. This shows me they are open and ready to accept this new challenge, not only in their life, but in mine. I’m looking forward to bringing that winning, positive culture here at Livingstone.”

“What an exciting moment,” said Andre Springs, interim athletics director. “I will never forget the first time I met Coach Smith. Something told me she had the energy and pizzazz to get things done and she could do it in a quiet way. She’s a winner.

“The largest room in the world is room for improvement. The largest nation in the world is your imagination. That’s what I see that’s getting ready to come to the table … so our student-athletes can have the best college experience,” Springs said.

Smith was joined at the reception by her husband, Dr. David Smith, a cardiologist. The couple have four children.