Smiles Named All-Met Coach of the Year; Santana Named First Team

Erik Smiles Named All-Met Coach of the Year; Santana Named to First-Team

White Plains, N.Y. - The All-Metropolitan Basketball Writers Association awards were announced on Wednesday, April 9th, with Farmingdale State head men's basketball coach Erik Smiles being selected as Coach of the Year, and junior guard Damien Santana (Brooklyn, N.Y./Grady) named First Team after the Rams finished with a 22-6 record, a Skyline Championship and an appearance in the NCAA Division III National Tournament.

Smiles has coached for four years at Farmingdale State, compiling an 83-31 career coaching record. The Rams were the top seed in the Skyline Playoffs and defeated Maritime 84-69 in the Semifinals and then St. Joe's in the Finals 91-71 to receive the automatic bid to the NCAA Tourney. Farmingdale then traveled to the University of Rochester to face Penn State Behrend (23-4) as their opponent in the first round of the Division III Championship's, but fell to Behrend 83-62. As a team, the Rams finished the year ranked 3rd in the Atlantic Region, 2nd in the Nation for Scoring Margin (16.1), 5th in the Nation in scoring (88.9) and 3rd in the Nation in Rebounding Margin (9.7).

This is Coach Smiles' sixth Coach of the Year award. He is a 2-time Skyline Coach of the Year, 2-time BCANY Co-Coach of the Year, one time Atlantic Region Coach of the Year, and now one time All-Met Division III Coach of the Year.

For the 2007-08 season, Santana was named First Team All-Met, Skyline Conference Player of the Year, as well as First Team after leading his team to their second Skyline Conference Championship. Santana, a junior captain, finished the year scoring a conference-leading 21.4 points per game (30th in the Nation) and also scored his 1,000th career point in January. To date he has accumulated 1,311 points, 411 rebounds, 201 assists and 146 steals over his three seasons.

Santana, who earned Skyline Conference Player of the Week honors on four occasions and Team once, ranked fourth in the conference in both steals (2.15/gm) and 3-point field goals (2.59/gm). He was also among the top rebounding guards in the conference at 6.3 per game. Santana averaged a team-leading 26.5 points per game in the Skyline Conference Tournament.

The All-Met first and second team players, and coach of the year, will be honored on Thursday evening, April 17, at the 75th NIT/MBWA college awards dinner at Giants Stadium Club in East Rutherford, N.J.