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April 18, 2013 at 2:31 PM

UW assistant Lamont Smith leaves for New Mexico

After one season at Washington, assistant Lamont Smith is leaving the Huskies and accepted a similar position at New Mexico.

His departure forced Washington to re-shuffle the coaching staff.

Paul Fortier will assume Smith’s responsibilities. The Huskies created a director of player of personnel position for Fortier last year to make room for Smith. Foriter, a former UW standout player from 1983-86, had been an assistant with the Huskies the previous eight seasons before taking the new assignment.

Coach Lorenzo Romar said there’s no immediate plans to fill the director of player of personnel position. The other UW assistants include Jim Shaw and Brad Jackson.

“Lamont was given a great opportunity to go to New Mexico,” Romar said. “Steve Alford obviously took the head job at UCLA. His top assistant Craig Neal got the head job and therefore was kind of starting from scratch. He needed someone really strong to come in and in some ways help him coach the team. (Smith) is kind of like an associate head coach. Almost the co-head coach. So that’s what he decided to do.”

Washington hired Smith on Aug. 23, 2012 to replace Raphael Chillious, who left for Villanova.

Smith spent the previous four seasons at Arizona State (2008-12).┬áHis other coaching stops included: St. Mary’s (2001-07) and Santa Clara (2007-08).

Romar initially hired Smith in 1999 as a graduate assistant when they were at Saint Louis. They worked together for three years before Romar left to take the Washington job.

Smith, who played at San Diego from 1994-99, is considered a strong recruiter on the west coast. He helped the Huskies land incoming freshman Jahmel Taylor.

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