The former director of basketball of operations for the WNBA Detroit Shock, Donease Smith enters her fourth season with Kansas women’s basketball staff after being hired in May of 2015 as the Director of Basketball Operations. During the 2017-18 season, Smith was elevated to Assistant Athletics Director of Team Operation (Olympic Sports).
In addition to her duties serving as the Director of Basketball Operations for the women’s basketball program, Smith was promoted to her current administrative position in an effort to better support KU coaches, increase efficiency and maximize savings in Olympic Sport operations.
She is responsible for the oversight and training of Olympic Sport team operations staff including baseball, men’s and women’s golf, rowing, soccer, tennis, swimming and diving, track and field, men’s and women’s cross country, volleyball and softball.
In May of 2015, Smith joined the Jayhawks after six seasons with the Memphis women’s basketball program. With the Tigers, she handled both internal and external needs including team travel, practice set-up and inventory control.
Prior to Memphis, Smith spent two seasons with the Detroit Shock under the direction of former head coach and four-time NBA All-Star Bill Laimbeer. There, she served as basketball operations manager and manager of the Year Round Hoops program. Smith also worked alongside WNBA All-Stars Kara Braxton, Swin Cash, Cheryl Ford, Deanna Nolan, Plenette Pierson and Katie Smith.
Following her college playing career (1995-98) at the University of Central Missouri (formerly Central Missouri State), Smith taught introductory business classes and served as an assistant girls’ basketball coach for four years at Park Hill High School in Kansas City, Mo.
She then spent the 2000-01 and 2001-02 seasons as an assistant coach for the Kansas City Legacy of the National Women’s Basketball League (NWBL). There, Smith assisted in all phases of coaching and training, as well as team travel, scheduling and community outreach programs. She also served as an AAU coach for the Kansas City Chicks and as a USSSA coach for the Kansas City Blue.
Smith later joined the women’s basketball coaching staff at Kansas State as Director of Basketball Operations. She spent one season with the Wildcats, before serving as a business instructor and assistant women’s basketball coach at Moberly (Mo.) Area Community College. Smith left Moberly to join the three-time WNBA champion Detroit Shock in March of 2007.
A native of Sedalia, Missouri, Smith earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business education from Central Missouri State. While a student-athlete, she earned honorable mention all-conference honors three times, after transferring from Missouri State (formerly Southwest Missouri State), and averaged 10.9 points and 6.6 rebounds per game during her senior year.
Smith currently resides in Lawrence and is an active member of Women Leaders in College Sports and the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA). Additionally, she is a Class of 2011 graduate of the NCAA Leadership Institute, a Class of 2013 graduate of the NACWAA Institute for Administrative Advancement (West) and serves on the diversity committee for KU Athletics.