Provo • BYU will be facing a team playing without its head coach when it takes on San Diego on Saturday at the West Coast Conference men’s basketball tournament in Las Vegas.
The third-seeded Cougars meet the sixth-seeded Toreros at 2 p.m. MST at the Orleans Arena in a quarterfinal game.
University of San Diego coach Lamont Smith was arrested at the Oakland International Airport on domestic violence charges Sunday as the Toreros prepared to return home from Saturday night’s 64-61 win over San Francisco at the Dons’ Memorial Gymnasium.
Monday, USD announced that Smith has been placed on paid administrative leave for the remainder of the season. Assistant coach Sam Scholl will coach the team against BYU.
“Our values as a faith-based institution call upon us to proceed with justice and compassion,” the university said in news release. “Our prayers are for all those who are impacted by this situation.”
Smith, in his third year at USD, faces three charges stemming from an incident late Saturday night at the team hotel in San Francisco, according to the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department. He was charged with domestic violence, assault with force likely to commit great bodily injury, and false imprisonment.
ESPN reported that Smith, 42, is married with two children, but the alleged victim is not his wife. The woman, who told police she had a relationship with Smith, was treated at a local hospital for non-life-threatening injuries.
The university issued a statement on the matter late Sunday night, saying it was aware of the allegations and would be conducting its own investigation.
Smith was released on bail of $115,000, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.
“I would just characterize it as a very serious matter,” USD athletic director Bill McGillis told the newspaper.
Like Smith, Scholl played for USD and has been on the staff the last three seasons
The Toreros went 18-12 overall and tied for fourth place in the league standings with San Francisco and Pacific, which also went 9-9, but got the sixth seed based on tiebreakers. San Diego defeated BYU 75-62 on Feb. 17 at Jenny Craig Pavilion after the Cougars downed the Toreros 74-58 on Jan. 20 in Provo.
Smith played for USD from 1994 to 1999 and has also been an assistant coach at New Mexico, Washington, Arizona State, Saint Louis, Santa Clara and Saint Mary’s.