Hubie Smith knew it was time to retire after his last game in March.
So, he told Brentwood Academy athletic director Cody White what his heart was telling him.
“I think I just coached my last game,” Smith told White. “I know I’ve been thinking about it for a year. It’s different than it used to be. I love BA, I love what it stands for.”
Smith, 58, wants to pursue other interests and do some things he’d never been able to do, so the BA boys basketball coach announced his retirement last week.
He took seven months after the March conversation to make sure it was the right decision.
“This past summer my daughter (Becca) took a job at Pepperdine University and then about two months after that my wife (Dee Anna) was named the board chair at Pepperdine on top of her full-time job as CEO of Sarah Cannon (Cancer Institute),” Smith said. “I need to support her. She supported me for 30 years. It just felt like the right time.”
Smith went 707-250 with seven state titles and three runner-up finishes in 30 years of coaching boys and girls. He also won 17 region championships and finished runner-up twice.
He won the 2001 Class AAA boys title at Bartlett, the Division II-AA girls championships at Ensworth in 2010 and 2013 and four straight DII-AA boys titles at BA with point guard Darius Garland from 2015-18.
Three of his wins stand out among the rest:
“The first (state title) at Bartlett in 2001,” Smith said. “My son (Adam) was on our team. I’d been coaching for 17 years and we finally won one. That was special.”
Smith’s second girls title at Ensworth in 2013 was also memorable.
“My daughter was the point guard on that team and we won our last 27 games,” Smith said. “And then probably the last one at BA was our fourth in a row when Darius was a senior.”
Smith’s most painful loss came in 1996 when Memphis East’s Tony Harris hit a last-second 3-pointer in the substate to end Bartlett’s season one win short of the state tournament.
“We thought we had a chance to win it that year,” Smith said.
East went on to win the state title and Harris became an All-Southeastern Conference player at Tennessee.
Smith always emphasized man-to-man defense, offensive efficiency and peaking in the postseason.
Garland, drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers out of Vanderbilt in June, was the most talented player Smith ever coached.
“No question,” Smith said. “I’m leaving for Cleveland (on Wednesday) to watch him play twice this week. Can’t wait.
“He’s starting. He hasn’t played in 11 months (due to a knee injury), so I’m sure he still has a little bit of rust, but I’m proud of him.”
BA’s top two scorers from last season, Randy Brady (McEachern, Ga.) and Marcus Fitzgerald (Pearl-Cohn), both transferred. Smith said he doesn’t know if his retirement prompted them to leave.
Eagles assistant coach Matt Hoppe, a former BA player, has been named interim coach. Practice begins Monday.
“He’ll do a really solid job,” said Smith, a 2019 TSSAA Hall of Fame inductee.
Smith will remain at BA as the Flight Basketball League director for players in kindergarten-eighth grade.