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Logan native Kohn Smith has about a week left to coach his Utah State basketball team. It was announced on Jan. 29, in timing that still seems odd, that USU would no longer require Smith's services after the end of this season. His record is 63-76 with probably two games to go, at least one in the Big West Conference tournament next Friday.

Saturday night at 7:30 against Nevada, the last-place team in the Big West Conference, Smith will coach his final game in the Smith Spectrum, a strange event to be sure since the opposing coach was told on Monday that his contract won't be renewed, either."It's kind of a hard one, isn't it?" said Smith. "It is for me. I have a lot of sentiments. This season was very hard, hard on my family."

While Smith has complaints with new Aggie president George Emert and perhaps with new athletic director Chuck Bell, he says, "I'm not bitter. I'm disappointed. I feel bad for the players and me that we weren't given a good chance this year," he says. They all heard rumors since last summer that Smith was in his final season.

Smith also says his dismissal is "a real blessing for my family in that after dealing with this for the last four or five weeks, I am in a much better situation for next year. I just don't like the way things are being handled up there (in the administration).

"More than anything," he says, "it's the lack of support from the administration. We (the team, coaches) had goals and expectations, but (the administration) didn't have the same ones, and that makes it difficult." Smith says he never met with Emert until after he was notified that his contract wouldn't be renewed.

Smith says he is angered by persistent rumors that he called for that fatal Jan. 28 meeting with Emert and Bell to force the situation, and that a heated public argument he'd had earlier that week on a road trip with player Nate Wickizer played a part in his dismissal.

Smith denies both ideas and attributes them to the administration.

(It is more likely such speculation arose in the media because of the strange mid-season timing of the firing, one day before the Aggies played UNLV at home and three days after the argument. After the UNLV game, Wickizer called his own news conference to say he and the coach had made up.) "The crux of my feelings . . . why the president can't just say, `Well, I fired him. He didn't win enough games.' I'd have no problem with that," Smith says. His record is 63-76.

"These are all diversionary things," Bell said Thursday in response to Smith's accusations. Bell reiterated what he'd said in the Jan. 29 press conference: "He was evaluated over 41/2 years. There was no specific incident." Bell is irritated that Smith called a meeting with members of the Logan media this week to air his feelings. "It's unfortunate such a meeting was held," says Bell.