Hometown: Portage, Ind.
Last College: Ohio State
Experience: 2nd Season
Heading into his second season as the Salukis' throws coach is John Smith.
In his first year at SIU, Smith coached the throwers to six Missouri Valley Conference titles between indoor and outdoor competition. Three of his throwers qualified for the NCAAs, as he was named USTCA Mideast Region Coach-of-the-Year. Smith also had eight NCAA Mideast Regional qualifiers and one USTAF Junior National Champion under his tutelage a year ago.
A native of Portage, Ind., Smith joined the Saluki staff after coaching 18 Big Ten Champions, 19 All-Americans, 12 national qualifiers (24 total events) and two NCAA Champions in five years as throws coach at Ohio State University.
Smith's 2004 OSU squad achieved perhaps the finest campaign in his five-year stint. He guided the Buckeyes to five Big Ten crowns and a pair of NCAA Championships. He also had nine All-Americans and three Olympic Trials finalists on that team.
Although Smith has coached a slew of magnificent throwers, three that stood out in his tenure at OSU were Dan Taylor, Keturah Lofton and Amarachi Ukabam.
Taylor, a nine-time All-American, two-time Big Ten Indoor/Outdoor Male Athlete of the Year, Ohio State Athlete of the Year and Region V Athlete of the Year, established OSU and Big Ten records in the indoor weight throw. He also set OSU standards in the hammer and discus during the outdoor segment. Not to mention, Taylor became the first thrower in NCAA history to win both the indoor shot put and weight titles at a NCAA Championship.
Smith also helped establish one of the finest freshman campaigns by an OSU student-athlete, as he mentored Ukabam to Big Ten and NCAA Mideast Regional titles in the discus. A native of Missouri, Ukabam followed Smith to SIU, where she was a four-time NCAA All-American and broke four all-time MVC records in her first season as a Saluki a year ago.
Prior to joining the Ohio State staff, Smith coached his wife, Connie Price-Smith, a four-time Olympian, to 25 U.S. national titles in the shot put and discus combined. Price-Smith captured the world indoor silver medal in the shot put in 1995 and placed fifth in the shot put at the 1996 Olympic Games, the highest finish for a U.S. female shot putter since 1960. She went on to claim the gold medal at the Pan-American Games in 1999.
Before hitting the collegiate coaching scene, Smith was involved with personal high school coaching in the shot put and discus since 1980. He trained 20 Indiana state champions and five Track & Field News High School All-Americans. Two of his student-athletes were national champions and five were named to the U.S. Junior National Team.
Smith was a track and field coach and the strength/conditioning coach at SIU from 1984-86. During those years, he coached four NCAA All-Americans and nine Missouri Valley Conference champions.
After graduating from Southern, Smith was a member of two Olympic Festival teams and a part of the USA vs. Great Britain national team. He participated in five national championships, with his highest finish being seventh in the shot put.
Smith was an All-American in the shot put and a winner of eight MVC titles in the shot put, discus and hammer at SIU. He still holds both the school's indoor and outdoor, and MVC shot put records today.