When longtime college basketball coach Tubby Smith took the stage next to G.G. Smith, the first-year head coach of the Loyola men's basketball team, it seemed as if he was there to support his son in his new role.
Tubby Smith had other ideas though.
"I haven't had a chance to see my granddaughter yet. That's why I'm here," Tubby Smith joked. "They think I'm here to talk and help kick off this season. But I'm here to see my granddaughter and my daughter-in-law."
The family was all together Wednesday night, as G.G. Smith and Tubby Smith answered questions in front of more than 50 Loyola fans during a session at the Under Armour Tide Point headquarters.
Tubby Smith knows what it's like to be a first-time coach. He's been the head coach at five different programs, from Tulsa toKentucky to Minnesota, learning to adjust each time. Tubby Smith is about to begin his first year as Texas Tech's head coach, at the same time that his son will be beginning his first season.
Tubby Smith said G.G. Smith would have to learn his own lessons as the newly-minted man in charge.
"It was a lot different because I was a high school coach for six years, so I had that experience," Tubby Smith said. "I had the luxury of making a lot of mistakes, doing a lot of dumb things and learning from the mistakes while not in the public eye."
Tubby Smith did give one pointer though.
"I've just told him to be very careful and to understand his responsibilities," Tubby Smith said. "That's tough because you live in a fish bowl as a coach on any level, but especially on the Division I level."
G.G. Smith said he understands things will be different now. He spent six years as an assistant to Jimmy Patsos, who accepted the Siena coaching job on April 2.
The move one seat over might not seem like much, but to G.G. Smith it represents a huge shift.
"You are the head man and you've got to be the face of the program," G.G. Smith said. "Everybody is along for the ride. This is my first year, I'm going to make some mistakes, the players are going to make some mistakes … so it's going to be a learning process for me."
The Greyhounds won't be starting from scratch. While the team has only four upperclassmen, out of 14 players, returning All-MAAC first team selection Dylon Cormier should ease the transition. The 6-foot-2 senior guard averaged 16.4 points-per-game last season, though he should face stiffer competition in the Patriot League, Loyola's new conference.
The Greyhounds have finished 23-12 and 24-9 the last two seasons.
"The biggest thing is we don't want to be complacent. You always have to find ways to reinvent yourself, keep guys on their toes. Let them know that we're not in the MAAC anymore, we're in the Patriot League now," G.G. Smith said. "The Patriot League is a tough league."