March 18, 2015

COLLEGEVILLE, Minn. (AP) Jim Smith has decided to retire after 51 seasons as men's basketball coach at St. John's University in Minnesota.

Smith, 80, announced his retirement to his players on Tuesday afternoon, according to the St. Cloud Times. He finishes with a record of 786-556 at the Division III school.

Smith played at Marquette in the 1950s, and became the St. John's coach before the 1964-65 season. Under him, St. John's made 17 postseason tournament appearances, most recently in 2007.

Although Smith said health wasn't a primary factor in his retirement, he is scheduled to have hip replacement surgery at the end of March. He was also diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2003 and fractured his femur in 2009.

Smith had two stints as St. John's athletic director and also coached golf, cross country and track at various times.

St. John's has started the search for Smith's successor, with hopes to find a new coach in a month.

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Information from: St. Cloud Times, http://www.sctimes.com

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