This is the fourth of a five part interview KSR's Larry Vaught conducted with former Kentucky coach…
OTS discusses Saul, & reflects on Mr. Wildcat
This is the third part of an exclusive series with Kentucky Sports Report that offers some insights into Smith and the feeling he still has for Kentucky.
Question: What has coaching with your son, Saul, been like and how good a coach is he?
Smith: "You know how kids are. They all make suggestions, but only one coach makes decision. But Saul is right there suggesting what I should do. I thought it was special to have him on board with me this year. He was big key to our success. He could look and see when I might need to let up and give them a morning off. He could help make decisions in the course of the game. He was very involved in preparing the team scouting reports and with on-court coaching in practice.
"He is very astute. I think Saul has a great eye for talent and he has passion for it. He enjoys the game. Sometimes when guys play at this level you are not sure how they will enjoy coaching. Are they spoiled? Do they understand what you want? But he piad his dues and is doing a great job."
Question: You also brought Steve Goodson with you from UK where he was on your staff as a manager and then special assistant. How is he doing as your special assistant here?
Smith: "He is great. He is so loyal and understands our program so well. He has handled things for me and controls the managers, film exchange, video. He has been communicating with people back in Kentucky for me, too, and that is a big help. "We were all devastated with the death of Bill Keightley. But all the guys that were managers and came through there with him, well that is a real fraternity. He misses him a lot."
Question: Another season will start soon without Bill Keightley. What are your thoughts on Bill and how much will Kentucky basketball miss him?
Smith: "Wow. I don't think can put a value on what he meant and what he will mean always to Kentucky. It was not just basketball, but to Kentucky athletics. He had such a vast knowledge of that institution and how it works. You can't put a value on that experience or tradition or linking past with present. I think he is a guy that I hope got all his memoirs done because I know he was doing some from a few years ago. He has such valuable knowledge that people need to read and appreciate. Before I left I started talking to him about getting somebody to come in and do the equipment room so he could just be in charge of recording the history he knew. I said, ‘You can catalogue all the media guides and add your knowledge for the whole athletic department. You can have you own office and staff.' But he wanted to keep doing all the work he was already doing.
"He could share in a way that really informed you without giving away secrets about the program. There were some things coaches could not talk about, or wouldn't talk about. He could put in a way you could understand and tell you how kids would be without telling any secrets. I miss his advice, too. He was great to talk to."
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