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Nolan Smith Leaving Duke: College Basketball World Reacts

Duke players, including Nolan Smith, walking across the Final Four court.

INDIANAPOLIS - APRIL 05: (L-R) Brian Zoubek #55, Nolan Smith #2, Lance Thomas #42, Jon Scheyer #30 and Kyle Singler #12 of the Duke Blue Devils walk on court against the Butler Bulldogs during the 2010 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball National Championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium on April 5, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Coach K isn't the only Duke coach leaving Durham this spring. Former Duke star and current assistant coach Nolan Smith is apparently on his way out as well.

According to ESPN NBA insider Marc J. Spears, Smith has informed the Duke staff that he is leaving to accept a job as associate head coach at Louisville. Smith will be working under newly-appointed Cardinals head coach Kenny Payne.

Spears noted that Smith has previous ties to the University of Louisville. Smith's father, the late-great Derek Smith, won an NCAA title with the Cardinals in 1980. He has a tattoo of his father's face on his arm.

Duke fans on Twitter appear sad but not angry to see Smith joining their ACC rivals. Many of them understand that the opportunity to get a bigger job was too good to pass up. More importantly - he deserved the promotion for the work he did:

Nolan Smith played for Duke under Coach K from 2007 to 2011, leading the Blue Devils to a national title in 2010. He was a two-time All-ACC selection and the ACC Player of the Year in 2011.

Smith wound up going 21st overall to the Portland Trail Blazers in the 2011 NBA Draft. But after two years, he took his talents overseas and his playing career was over by early in 2015.

Coach K brought Smith back to Durham in 2021, and the Blue Devils promptly won the regular season title for the first time since Smith was a player for them.

The next time Nolan Smith returns to Duke will be as an adversary though.