By Anthony Caruso
Last week, the College made the announcement that Matt Goldsmith was named the new men’s basketball head coach. This is Goldsmith’s first appointment as a head coach.
While he may be new to head coaching at the collegiate level, Goldsmith is no stranger to New Jersey. He is a Morristown, N.J., native and a Delbarton High School graduate.
He is replacing former head coach Kelly Williams. Williams resigned earlier this year following his new appointment as the Senior Associate Director of Athletics — External Affairs.
“I’m super excited to join the TCNJ family,” Goldsmith said. “I’m also excited to get back down to New Jersey, and I’m originally from New Jersey. So being able to come home and coach college basketball at such a prestigious school that has such great academics, it’s an honor.”
Goldsmith added that he’s extremely excited to coach for the Lions.
“It means the world to me, and I’m a family guy first,” Goldsmith said. “This move allows me to be closer to my family — and join such a great academic family.”
Goldsmith said that all the pieces fell into place when the job became available. He also said that recruiting in New Jersey helped him get the job.
“I’ve been recruiting N.J. for a long time,” he said. “The guys that I like to coach and be around — are those high academic student-athletes. I think to coach at The College of New Jersey, we’re going to have student-athletes that want to be coached the right way — you go to class and you do well in class, but you also excel on the court.”
He comes to the College from Amherst College in Massachusetts where he was an assistant coach to David Hixon for the last three years. During his tenure there, the team had a 78-14 record.
Goldsmith won the 2013 National Championship while at Amherst. He was also a player on the school’s first National Championship team in 2007.
“I think any time you have a new head coaching job, you do feel a little pressure, especially after how well former head coach Kelly Williams did last year,” Goldsmith said. “He had an awesome year last year, and I’m coming in with big shoes to fill. I think for me, at Amherst, I’ve been doing a lot of the head coaching duties with coach Hixon. I’ve been doing a lot of the head coaching duties for the last two years. I think I’m ready to step into that role.”
Upon being named the Lions’ head coach, one of the first tasks was to meet with his new players. He met with the players on Wednesday night, April 29, and followed that with individual meetings with each returning player for about a half an hour.
While the team is losing Jayson Johnson, Skylar Ettin and Alex Fox to graduation, he’s still excited about the roster that is returning next season. He, especially, is very interested in coaching star player junior Bobby Brackett.
“I think losing Johnson, Ettin and Fox are big losses, as they did the right things on and off the court,” Goldsmith said. “There are a lot of young guys around a very good, talented big man — in Bobby Brackett. I’ve been able to see Bobby on tape, and he’s a very special talent. He’s a great player with unbelievable athleticism.
“I think if we continue to put the right pieces around Bobby and continue to build on last year, we can hopefully win 15 or more games. If we do that, we have a very good chance of performing in the NJACs.”
While Goldsmith would like to win 15 games each season, the Lions are coming off of a season, where they went 15-11. They also went 11-7 within the New Jersey Athletic Conference, and made the playoffs for the first time since the 2008-09 season, which was Williams’ first season as head coach. In the conference playoffs, the team lost to New Jersey City, 74-60, on Saturday, Feb. 21.
The NJCU loss was the end of Williams’ tenure at the school. In seven seasons, he went 64-111, including the career-best 15-11 record this past season.
In addition, Williams has also helped Goldsmith transition to the college.
“I’ve spoken with coach Williams a few times,” Goldsmith said. “He’s been very helpful, as he’s been helping me out throughout the entire transition. He’s been a great help. I think he’s going to be a great asset for me when I have questions about the College, the guys, and the potential recruits. I think it’s going to be a good fit moving forward.”