STAFF REPORT/PRESS RELEASE: Dublin, Jacksonville U standout Ben Smith elected to ASUN Hall of Fame
The Courier Herald – July 7, 2021
Dublin state basketball champion and now head coach Ben Smith is headed into the Atlantic Sun Conference Hall of Fame.
The four-year starter at Jacksonville University, thrice an all-conference selection, was named last week to the A-SUN's 2021 hall of fame class, which will be inducted this fall.
Smith, who remains in possession of five school records and is widely considered one of Jacksonville's best hoops players of all time, was elected to the school's athletic hall of fame in 2016. He now joins the exceedingly exclusive club of A-SUN hall-of-famers, which features golfer Colin Montgomerie (Houston Baptist) along with current and former big-league baseball players Mike Lowell (FIU), Corey Kluber (Stetson) and Chris Sale (Florida Gulf Coast).
New York Mets ace (of Stetson) Jacob deGrom, a recently-named NL all-star, is among the past A-SUN greats joining Smith in the 2021 class. Fellow inductees will be retired Belmont head basketball coach Rick Byrd, Lipscomb volleyballer Stefanie Pease and FGCU pitcher Richard Bleier.
Smith led Dublin to the AA state basketball title his senior season, as well as a GHSA Final Four appearance the prior year, before making an immediate impact at point guard and earning conference all-freshman honors his first year at Jacksonville.
He wound up setting school records in both steals and assists during his four-year run with the Dolphins, graduating in 2010 as the program's second all-time leading scorer, with 1,971 career points. Smith's teams appeared in A-SUN title games in 2009 and 2010, clinched regular-season conference championship honors in '09 and reached the NIT both seasons.
He returned to Dublin to take over as Irish head coach in 2019, after a lengthy run playing international professional basketball, with stints and multiple all-star selections for clubs in Sweden, Iceland, France and the United Kingdom from 2010 until 2017.
The A-SUN hall, in its seventh year, recognizes athletes, coaches, administrators and special inductees in classes of only five per year. Its selection criteria emphasize an individual's contributions to their school as a whole, in addition to athletic accomplishments.
Smith and fellow inductees will be honored in a ceremony and virtual reception set for October 18.