Highland Community College


B.J. Smith

After taking the Scotties to their first National tournament in 30 years and a 5th place finish in 2013, women's head coach BJ Smith led the Scotties to their best season in school history(33-3), getting their first ever Jayhawk Conference Championship, back-to-back Region Championships, and National Runner-up at the 2014 NJCAA Tournament. The Scotties were ranked #1 in the Nation for a period of time, as well as being in the top 5 all season long. For his efforts, Smith was named the 2013 and 2014 Region 6 Coach of the Year. As a community college head coach, Smith is 233-38(284-65 overall) with an 87% winning percentage, five national tournament appearances, and two National Runner-up finishes.

.In B.J. Smith’s initial season as the Highland head coach, the Scotties finished with a record of 28-4 in 2011-12, finished second in the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference, achieved a top five national ranking for most of the season, and had the Jayhawk Conference Player of the Year in Kat Thomas who was also a First Team All-American. For those accomplishments, Smith was named the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association National Coach of the Year.

Smith came to Highland with a tremendous track record of success as a coach and motivator. Smith has coached players from all over the world who have made All-American teams, been drafted into the WNBA, played in the Olympics, as well as playing professionally overseas.

Coach Smith has been a coach at every level (high school, community college, NAIA, NCAA Division I) and has proven the ability to teach. As the head coach at Southeast Missouri State, he led the Redhawks to their four most successful NCAA Division I seasons in the history of the program and an Ohio Valley Championship, along with qualifying for the NCAA tournament for the first time in the history of the school. As a community college coach at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M (99-7), he developed one of the top programs in the country, winning the powerful Bi-State Conference three years in a row as well as finishing fourth in the country in 2000 and National Runner-up in 2002. He also started the men's and women's track and cross-country programs at Phillips University. They both finished in the top 20 nationally in their first year.

As a community college head coach, Smith has graduated 100% of his players who have come to play for him as freshmen and had them go on to play at places like Oklahoma, Memphis, Depaul, Arkansas State, and numerous other universities across the country. He also was co-founder of the Oklahoma Indian All-State Games, has done numerous free basketball clinics not only in his native Oklahoma, but in New Zealand and Australia. He developed reading in schools programs at Southeast Missouri State as well as Northeastern Oklahoma A&M. He has spoken at the Johnson Omalley Native American Leadership Program in Tahlequah, Oklahoma as well as numerous other schools and youth groups on the value of education.

Jillian Palan

Jillian Palan

Title: Women's Basketball Assistant Coach
Phone: 785-442-6145
Email: jpalan@highlandcc.edu

Jillian Palan has been instrumental in the establishment of Highland Community College women’s basketball as a national power. The Scotties are 91-13 since her arrival in 2011, with two Region 6 Championships, a 5th place national tournament finish, and a National Runner-up finish. They have been ranked #1 in the country for four weeks as well as being in the top 10 for multiple seasons. The Scotties have had three All-Americans, four All-Conference, and six All-Region players as well as three academic All-Americans.

Palan is the recruiting coordinator as well as being in charge of post players among other on court and game day duties. Jillian is no stranger to success as she led North central Missouri to a 6th place National Tournament finish as well as being a part of the post season at the Division I level, playing for Tricia Cullop’s Evansville Aces in the women’s postseason NIT