Head Coach Bubba Smith
After eight season as head coach of the Sewanee College men’s basketball teams, Ryan “Bubba” Smith has been selected to become the new head coach of the Lee men’s program.
Smith, who has built the Sewanee (University of the South) program into one of the top teams in NCAA Division III basketball over the past eight years, becomes only the ninth head coach in the history of Lee basketball.
Smith, a graduate of Furman University, enjoyed a four-year basketball career with the Paladins. He was a four-year letterman and team captain during his junior and senior seasons.
His first head coaching opportunity came at Hampden-Sydney (Va.), a nationally recognized program and a member of the ODAC (Old Dominican Athletic Conference). After serving as an assistant for three years, he was named head coach in 2003 and remained in that position for five years. He became the first rookie coach to direct a Division III program to a No. 1 ranking.
Smith’s overall record at Hampden-Sydney was 93-45, including two ODAC Championships and two NCAA national tournament appearances.
The Hendersonville, Tenn. native moved closer to home in 2008 and took over a Sewanee basketball program that had struggled for years. Built on defense and rebounding, his 2011-12 squad was 11-2 at home, the school’s best home mark since 1998.
Smith has twice been named the SAA (Southern Athletic Association) coach of the year. The Tigers recorded five straight winning seasons and this past year went 20-8 and became only the fourth 20-win mark registered in Sewanee basketball history.
The new Lee coach noted that he was looking forward to competing against some of the best coaches in the country in the Gulf South Conference. “This challenge is what every coach should desire as you grow in this profession, as a coach and as a person. I am excited about getting to know our team and beginning this process together.”
Smith brings his wife, Cortney, and four children. Isaac (14), Mary Brittain (12), Emma (9) and Izzy (7) to Cleveland to begin the new journey.
Assistant Coach Cole Rose
Cole Rose, a former Lee University standout, who helped lead the men's basketball team to 55 wins against just 12 defeats during his two seasons as a Flame, is returning to work as an assistant coach.
Rose played for the Flames during the 2006-07 and 2007-08 campaigns. He was known as a hard-nosed defender, who loved his teammates, and never backed away from any challenge.
During his tenure, the Flames were Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC) regular season and tournament champions in 2007-08. Lee advanced to the Elite Eight of the NAIA National Tournament before falling to tourney champs, Oklahoma City.
His college statistics reflect the type of player Rose was for the Flames. He was sixth in the SSAC in assists/turnover ratio, eighth in assists per game, 11th in steals, and 18th in defensive rebounds.
Rose took over the Boyd Buchanan program and quickly turned it into one of the best teams in the Chattanooga area. In 2012-13 the Bucs were 25-8 and reached the sub-state of TSSAA play. This past season his squad posted an impressive 28-4 record and was knocked out in the first round of the TSSAA State by a powerful Memphis team.
Cole is married to Ashley Rose and the couple has a one and a half year old daughter, Penny Rose.