John Smith Leaves Fullerton, Takes Over Cal Poly Program

Jamal Smith (left) and John Smith. Credit Matt Brown
Jamal Smith (left) and John Smith. Credit Matt Brown

FULLERTON, Calif. – John Smith, who had been the associate head coach of the men's basketball program for the last six years, has accepted a position as the head men's basketball coach at Cal Poly.

"Success is garnered because of people and I have been fortunate to work with one of the best humans in the world," head coach Dedrique Taylor said. "He showed our program grit, determination, servant leadership and dedication in the face of both adversity and triumph. I am grateful beyond words. Congrats to John and to Cal Poly. We here at Cal State Fullerton are all better because of him and I wish him and his family the best."

Smith was part of the best stretch in Cal State Fullerton men's basketball history as the Titans won 10+ Big West games and went to the postseason three years in a row, the first time both feats have ever been accomplished. The Titans also made the final of the Big West Tournament in 2018 and 2019, also a first for the school to earn back-to-back trips to the final. Smith and the 2017-18 squad won 20 games, won the Big West Tournament title and earned a trip to the NCAA Tournament.

"Our family is extremely blessed to be in this situation," said redshirt junior guard Jamal Smith, son of John. "I know my dad is very deserving of this position. The amount of work he has put into being the best coach possible is hard to miss. Cal Poly got a great one, and I have full faith in my father that he is going to do big things as a head coach."

Smith, who was able to coach Jamal for four years at Fullerton, will now be closer to his daughter, Kianna, who currently plays for the California Golden Bears in Berkeley.

Fans can purchase tickets for various Cal State Fullerton athletic events by visiting The Athletic Ticket Office can also be contacted by phone at 657-278-2783 or by email at The Ticket Office is located at the Titan House off of Gymnasium Drive at the eastern end of the Intramural Fields and is open from 10 am – 4 pm PT, Monday – Friday.

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