April 22, 2014
Louisiana Tech head coach Tyler Summitt announced Tuesday that Smith had joined the Lady Techster program as a full-time assistant. She joins former UT associate head coach Mickie DeMoss and former Lady Vol manager Bernitha Johnson as assistants on Summitt's staff.
"Amber is a wonderful asset to have on our staff," Summitt said. "She is an absolute competitor in everything that she does and will definitely take that to her main role of recruiting. Having played point guard, Amber knows the leadership, passion and commitment it takes to succeed at the highest level. We are very happy to have such a genuine person as part of the program as Amber."
A native of Winter Haven, Fla., Smith was one of 50 participants chosen to attend the 11th-annual Women's Basketball Coaches Association's "So You Want To Be A Coach" program. The three-day workshop was held April of 2013 in conjunction with the WBCA National Convention in New Orleans.
She was also just one of 12 recipients of the UPLIFT Registration Scholarship, sponsored by the NCAA. The scholarship enabled her to attend "A Step Up Fort Lauderdale 2014," a professional development symposium for aspiring young basketball assistant coaches.
"I am humbled, honored and excited for the opportunity to coach at Louisiana Tech," Smith said. "I am also very excited about getting a chance to work with Coach Summitt and the rest of the staff. I am grateful to be a part of a program with such great history and I'm ready to get started."
Smith played point guard collegiately at the University of Kentucky (2008-12) where she was a member of one of the most successful senior classes in UK hoops history. Despite undergoing knee surgeries on both knees, she concluded her career having played in 123 games while making 109 starts.
She averaged 7.0 points and 3.4 assists per game during her time in Lexington and helped UK advance to four consecutive postseason tournaments, including three straight NCAA Tournament appearances and two Elite Eights.
Smith ranks No. 6 on UK's all-time list for games played (123) and assists (425), and she is No. 8 in assists per game (3.5). The 2008 SEC All-Freshman Team and SEC Academic Honor Roll member graduated with a bachelor of art degree in integrated strategic communications in May of 2011.
Johnson, meanwhile, spent her time in Knoxville as a manager for Pat Summitt's teams for three and a half years.
"Bernitha is a tremendous addition to the Louisiana Tech family," Summitt said. "She is a very loyal person and is an extremely hard worker. Being from Mississippi, Bernitha has the background, knowledge and passion to dominate as our recruiting coordinator. She is a proven recruiter, having recruited multiple rookies of the year."
Johnson just completed her second season as an assistant coach at Buffalo where she helped lead the program to a 17-13 record. The recruiting coordinator for the Bulls, Johnson worked with both the posts and guards helping UB to 18 conference wins and an appearance in the MAC Tournament quarterfinals both years.
"I am very thankful for the opportunity to help re-establish the rich tradition of Louisiana Tech women's basketball," Johnson said. "I have had the privilege of knowing Tyler for many years and it's an honor to work with him towards creating a championship culture here at Louisiana Tech."
Prior to her time at Buffalo, Johnson served on the coaching staff at Binghamton University where she was hired in 2005. Johnson was promoted to associate head coach and recruiting coordinator for the Bearcats during her time with the program. She recruited a pair of America East Conference Rookie of the Year honorees and also served as the academic liaison between the team and the academic services department.
Johnson, a native of Waynesboro, Miss., graduated from Tennessee in May 2005 with a bachelor's degree in sports management. In her role with the Lady Vols program, Johnson prepared game breakdowns of offenses and defenses, while assisting in film exchange, various practice drills and recruiting visits.