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Former UK guard Amber Smith takes on new role with Wildcats

By Keith Taylor
Kentucky Today

The Kentucky women’s basketball team will have more stability in the future after two assistant coaches signed extensions and two others were re-assigned.

Amber Smith, a former standout is now an assistant coach, while former assistant Lin Dunn has been named special assistant to the head coach. Dunn has spent the past two seasons in her current role, while Smith, a former standout guard, returned to the school in 2016 in her previous role.


“I am extremely blessed and humbled to have the opportunity to coach at my alma mater,” Smith said. “This university and program hold a special place in my heart and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. I’m grateful to everyone that played a part in making this dream come true. I’m excited and ready to get to work for BBN.”

Smith played in 123 games for the Wildcats and started 109 of those contests during her playing career. She averaged seven points per game and 3.4 assists and helped lead Kentucky to four straight postseason appearances, including a pair of trips to the NCAA Elite Eight.

In addition, associate head coach Krya Elzy and assistant coach Niya Butts each signed a contract extension, giving Mitchell continuity within the program for at least the four years.

“Rearranging the roles of Amber and Lin and extending Kyra and Niya gives our program the stability that it needs for us to continue our success on and off the court,” Mitchell said. “This staff has worked tirelessly in the gym, in the film room and out on the road recruiting the last two years to ensure the best possible experience for our student-athletes and bring exceptional young ladies to the University of Kentucky. We are excited to get the team back this summer and get to work.”

Dunn will continue to scout future opponents, help the coaching staff plan and break down film and carry out special projects and assignments from Mitchell, but isn’t allowed to conduct on-the-court instructions. The former WNBA head coach who guided the Indiana Fever to the national championship in 2012, spent 25 seasons as a college head coach, making four appearances in the NCAA Sweet Sixteen and one trip to the Final Four.

Like Smith, Dunn is looking forward to her new role.

“I’m looking forward to working with coach Mitchell and the Wildcats this upcoming year in a different role,” Dunn said. “I’ve been so grateful for the opportunity to work at UK with so many great people and I am excited to continue that. This reorganization creates a wonderful opportunity for Amber Smith to have new responsibilities that will help her grow as a young assistant coach. I’m excited for what’s ahead.”

Keith Taylor is sports editor for Kentucky Today. Reach him at keith.taylor@kentuckytoday.com or twitter @keithtaylor21.

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