Smith resigns, former Gophers star Kelly Roysland hired as assistant

Andrew Baker

Football wasnâÄôt the only program with a recent coaching shake-up. The women’s basketball program announced Thursday that head recruiter and assistant coach Barb Smith resigned to pursue other coaching opportunities. The team wasted no time filling the position, hiring former Gophers guard Kelly Roysland shortly after. SmithâÄôs departure came just a week after Director of Basketball Operations Abby Kershaw resigned to take a job outside of basketball. It hasnâÄôt been decided what role Roysland will play in recruiting in place of Smith, but she will play one. The Fosston native spent the past two seasons as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at North Dakota State. âÄúI am very excited Kelly is coming home,âÄù head coach Pam Borton said in a release. âÄúKelly has been an integral part of this program as a player, and she will add a tremendous amount to our staff.âÄù As a freshman in 2003-04, Roysland played alongside Lindsay Whalen and Janel McCarville on the teamâÄôs unlikely run to the programâÄôs only Final Four appearance. She went on to score 1,074 career points, good for 13th all-time, and was named the teamâÄôs most valuable player her senior year. âÄúItâÄôs a whole different ballgame,âÄù Roysland said of coaching and recruiting versus playing. âÄúYou kind of have an idea when youâÄôre a player about what coaches do, but until youâÄôre actually one yourself and really doing the recruiting and evaluating of players itâÄôs amazing just in terms of what actually goes on and the time and effort [of] bringing the team together.âÄù Roysland said she learned last weekend of KershawâÄôs impending departure and a few days later about SmithâÄôs. âÄúItâÄôs been a pretty quick transition,âÄù Roysland said. According to a Thursday press release, Smith left to pursue âÄúother professional opportunities.âÄù Kershaw declined to be interviewed for this story but said she is taking a job at GreenMark, an environmentally focused sports marketing and sponsorship agency. As SmithâÄôs replacement, Roysland will oversee guard development and will play a role in recruiting. The Gophers have not announced a replacement for Kershaw. The Gophers play their first exhibition Nov. 3 at home against Southwest Minnesota State and their first regular-season game Nov. 13 against Northern Illinois, also at home.