Tyler Smithpeters view on the basketball bench just got a lot better.
On Monday, the Harrisburg native and four-year assistant coach at John A. Logan College was promoted to head coach, replacing his brother Kyle Smithpeters, who spent the better part of 10 years on the sidelines for the Volunteers.
Kyle Smithpeters recently took an assistant coaching position with the University of Missouri and now Tyler Smithpeters will now inherit the keys to one of the most storied programs in junior college basketball, as the Vols are fresh off a showing at the National Tournament in Hutchison Kansas and are repeat champions of the Great Rivers Athletic Conference three straight seasons and to boot, JALC has seven straight 20-win seasons.
For Tyler, excited is a understatement regarding his emotions as being named head coach of the Vols' program.
"I really felt like we haven't skipped a beat," Smithpeters said. "We have our players moving in the next couple of days to get ready for the season and after that it will be business as usual. I'm excited, but I'm also pretty comfortable. I've been here for four years now and that makes this transition a lot easier. Plus, the relationships I have in the athletic department are obviously going to be beneficial for me. I know that if at any point, I need to go to someone like Greg Starrick (JALC athletic director) for advice, he will be there for me."
Kyle Smithpeters noted that Tyler's influence on the Vols the past four seasons is immeasurable and the knowledge he's gained by being an assistant has set him up to be the head coach.
"The one thing I have told Tyler is just to be himself. He has a great rapport with the guys and he knows what it takes to win. Tyler has ran our offense the last couple of years, installing sets and changing things up last minute. The staff that was with me last year truly knows what it takes to win a national championship and they are in a great position with the players that Tyler has signed."
Tyler acknowledged the wealth of information he absorbed by being around his older brother, noting that to detail that would be too many to count.
"I think the biggest thing is just learning how to run a successful program and keep it consistent like Kyle did when he was at Logan, whether it is on the court or off the court. The players and the program have always been priority No. 1 the past 10 years and making sure they are in a position to be successful, in the classroom, on the court and in life."
While at Southern, Smithpeters was named Missouri Valley Conference Sixth Man of the Year in his senior season and was named MVC All-Bench Team Captain.
He played in all 33 games that year and led the team in 3-point field goals (49), making at least one 3-pointer in 19 games. The Salukis were 12-7 that year when Smithpeters made multiple triples in a game.
In his SIU career, Smithpeters averaged six points per game, finishing with 750.
Prior to playing at SIU, Smithpeters was an integral part in bringing home an IHSA Class 2A state championship to Harrisburg High School in 2013 as the Bulldogs went 33-1 that year, beating Chicago Orr in the title game.
He was named to the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association First Team All State and shared The Southern Illinois Co-Player of the Year honors with teammate Capel Henshaw.
Smithpeters will now be the 8th head coach in the history of the John A. Logan men's basketball program.
Spyder Dann covers prep and college sports for the Southern Illinois LOCAL Media Group. Follow him on Twitter: @spydieshooter.