Charmin Smith
Ben Margot/AP Photo

Charmin Smith, who joined the New York Liberty staff this season, will be a head coach for the first time in her career.

Geoff Magliocchetti

Charmin Smith is going back to California.

The New York Liberty assistant coach has accepted a deal to become the head coach for Cal-Berkeley women’s basketball. She takes over for Lindsay Gottlieb, who recently accepted an assistant position with the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers.

Smith had served as an assistant under Gottlieb for eight seasons in Berkeley. She played four years at Stanford and four more with three WNBA squads. Once her playing career was over, she was an assistant at Boston College for one year and Stanford for four before moving onto Cal.

She joined the Liberty shortly after the Golden Bears clinched their third straight 20-win season, one that ended in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. During Smith’s tenure, the team advanced as far as the Final Four, doing so after a 32-4 mark in 2013. She also helped guide the Bears to a WNIT title three years prior.

“It’s been a pleasure to work alongside Charmin and I’m excited for her as she takes on this new opportunity,” said Liberty head coach Katie Smith (no relation) in a team statement. “She is incredibly knowledgeable about the game and that translates into how she coaches and inspires players. We wish her continued success in her new role.”

According to the statement, Smith will continue to serve on the Liberty bench, as her final game “is yet to be determined”. Fellow assistant coach Herb Williams, director of player development Teresa Weatherspoon, and video coordinator Barbara Farris are expected to “take on increased responsibilities”.

Her brief time with the Liberty allowed Charmin Smith to reunite with two Berkeley alumnae, Brittany Boyd and Reshanda Gray. Boyd is third in the WNBA with 5.8 assists per game, while Gray is averaging 5.2 points and 5.9 rebounds, both career-highs.

The Liberty return to action on Saturday night, taking on the Minnesota Lynx on the road (8:00 p.m. ET, NBATV).

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