Highland Coach Awaits Decision from School

By Matt Tritten | mtritten@kq2.com

Published 04/02 2014 09:42PM

Updated 04/02 2014 11:19PM

(HIGHLAND, Kan.) Highland women's basketball coach B.J. Smith has led the Scotties to the two best seasons in program history, but his job hangs in the balance.

Smith entered a guilty plea Tuesday on six charges dating back to his arrest in April of 2013 for involvement in a multi-state car theft ring.

The Highland coach was one of 22 people indicted for their part in stealing more than 120 vehicles in Missouri, Iowa, Illinois and Indiana, conspiracy and committing mail fraud.

Highland Community College President David Reist says the school's attorney is currently examining information from the case and Smith's plea, and will present options to the school as they move forward. A board of six officials will then determine what Smith's punishment should be or if he should remain with the school as head women's basketball coach.

"It was a total surprise to us," Reist said of the incident in 2013. "Certainly he's a very personable guy and he's been a good employee for us and certainly had success. I'm sure there are people in the community that debated our decision last year (to keep Smith on as head coach). We'll go on and make a decision here. Whatever we do, somebody's going to debate the right and wrong of either way we go."

Highland's coming off a program-high 33 wins and its first national championship appearance during the 2013-14 season. The Scotties won 30 games in the previous season and finished fifth in the country under Smith's leadership.

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