SJU basketball coach Jim Smith wins 700th game

Bookmark and Share

November 21, 2009

Photo credit: John Biasi

In a 46-year coaching career, Jim Smith has reached many milestones with the Saint John’s University basketball team.

He is, after all, the winningest coach in any level of collegiate basketball in Minnesota history. But Smith recorded career win No. 700 when the Johnnies defeated Minnesota State University Moorhead 81-79 Saturday, Nov. 21 during the Radisson Suite St. Cloud Hoopster Classic at Halenbeck Hall, St. Cloud State University.

Smith, who has a 700-489 career record, became just the second coach at the NCAA Division III level and the 27th coach overall to reach 700 career wins in men’s basketball history.

The Johnnies used a dramatic game-closing burst to give Smith the milestone win. Sophomore wing Andrew Latzke (Shorewood, Minn./Minnetonka H.S.) hit a three-point field goal to break a 76-76 tie and give the Johnnies a 79-76 lead with 12 seconds to play. Latzke finished with 27 points for SJU as the Johnnies shot 75 percent (12-for-16) from 3-point range in the game.

Junior wing Chris Schwartz (Sioux Falls, S.D./Lincoln H.S.) added two free throws to give SJU an 81-76 lead. Schwartz and sophomore wing Aaron Barmore (Bloomington, Minn./Jefferson H.S.) each scored 13 points for Saint John’s, now 1-2 overall on the season.

Smith became the winningest coach in Minnesota collegiate basketball history on March 3, 2001, when SJU defeated Gustavus Adolphus in the second round of the NCAA Division III tournament, passing legendary Hamline head coach Joe Hutton.

Smith has led his teams to seven MIAC titles, five MIAC playoff titles, nine trips to the NAIA tournament and eight trips to the NCAA Division III playoffs. Smith has won MIAC titles in each of the past five decades. The Johnnies have enjoyed 30 winning seasons under Smith's direction since 1964-65, his first season at SJU.  

More information on the game can be found at