Truman State may be leaving the MIAA, but women's coach Michael Smith is staying put.
Northwest Missouri State hired Smith away from exiting MIAA member Truman to be its new women's basketball coach and the seventh in school history. The move was announced Friday.
Smith, a one-time graduate assistant at Northwest, replaces Mark Kellogg who left after one season to take over the women's program at West Texas A&M.
"I would like to thank President Jasinski and Athletic Director Mel Tjeerdsma for this wonderful opportunity to reconnect with Bearcat Nation," Smith said. "I was blessed to be a part of the Northwest family many years ago and had high hopes of someday returning to such a special place to continue my career."
Smith will be formally introduced at a press conference today at 2:30 p.m. inside the Northwest J.W. Jones Student Union.
Smith, 39, returns to Northwest after five seasons as the head women's basketball coach at Truman State where he posted a 68-68 record. A native of Sturgeon, Mo., Smith spent two seasons from 1996-98 as a graduate assistant for the Bearcats under the late Wayne Winstead – the all-time winningest women's basketball coach at Northwest.
During his tenure at Truman State, the Bulldogs increased their win total each season and advanced to the MIAA Tournament the last three seasons.
He helped lead the Bulldogs from the bottom of the conference with an 8-19 record in his first season to a 20-6 record in 2012-13 which included 11 weeks ranked in the WBCA Top 25 Poll. It was the most wins at Truman since the 1998-99 season. Truman State narrowly missed the program's first NCAA tournament appearance since the 1999-2000 campaign.
"The last few weeks I have been able to learn more about Michael, his values, principles and the respect his players and peers have for him," said Northwest Missouri State athletic director Mel Tjeerdsma. "The dedication he has for women's basketball and the desire to see his players succeed on the court and in the classroom leaves no question that he will be a perfect fit."
Prior to his time at Truman State, Smith served as an assistant coach and the recruiting coordinator at the University of Arkansas-Little Rock (UALR) beginning in 2006.
After two seasons as a graduate assistant at Northwest, Smith served as an assistant coach at Angelo State (Texas) from 1998-2002. During his time at ASU, the Rambelles earned two Lone Star Conference South Division Championships and one Lone Star Conference Tournament Championship. Smith went on to become the head women's basketball coach at Moberly Area Community College (MACC).
During his tenure at MACC, the Lady Greyhounds were ranked nationally in the Top 25 poll 27 weeks between 2003 and 2006 and peaked as high as No. 2 in the 2005-2006 preseason ranking. The Lady Greyhounds made consecutive NJCAA National Tournament appearances for the first time in 15 years and won the consolation championship at the tournament in 2005.
Page 2 of 2 - Smith was named Region XVI and District L Coach of the Year twice at MACC, in 2005 and 2006. Four Lady Greyhounds also earned NJCAA All-America honors with one WBCA All-America selection.
Smith received his Bachelor of Science from Central Methodist in 1996 with an emphasis in physical education and health. He earned his master's degree from Northwest in 1998 in physical education and health as well.
Smith and his wife Melanie have two sons, Cooper and Devin.