GEORGETOWN, Texas – Longtime Head Men's and Women's Cross Country and Track & Field Coach Francie Larrieu Smith announced her retirement Wednesday after 20 years at Southwestern.
"Working with the Southwestern University athletic department for the past 19 years has been an incredibly rewarding experience," said Smith. "Having the opportunity to work with our student-athletes through this important developmental stage in their lives is an experience I will treasure forever."
Five-time Olympian Smith began at Southwestern in 1999 after an illustrious running career. During her time at the helm she has coached three athletes (one male and two female) to appearances at the NCAA Cross Country Championships. Smith's cross country athletes have been named to South/Southeast Region honors 21 times and All-SCAC honors 24 times while her track athletes have won nearly 30 SCAC Event Championships and countless All-SCAC honors. Additionally, three athletes have earned SCAC Athlete of the Meet honors as the highest point scorer at the championship, receiving the distinction in 2008, 2013 and 2014.
"Southwestern University has been so fortunate to have an elite level coach of Francie Smith's caliber as our head cross country coach for the past 20 years," said Director of Athletics Dr. Glada Munt. "Not many college athletes, particularly in NCAA Division III, can say that they have been coached by a five-time Olympian. While we will miss her expertise and the positive life approach she brought to the job, her sincere commitment to each and every one of her student-athletes will be our greatest loss."
As an athlete, Smith had her best Olympic finish in 1988 with a fifth place finish in the 10,000 meters at Seoul, South Korea. As a crowning achievement, she was the flag bearer for the U.S. Olympic Team in Barcelona, Spain (1992).
During the course of her 30-year career, Smith established 36 U.S. records and 12 world bests in distances ranging from 1,000 to 10,000 meters. She was selected by Runner's World magazine as "The Most Versatile Runner of the Quarter Century." Coach Smith is a member of several halls of fame including The Texas Women's Hall of Fame, The National Track and Field Hall of Fame, and the Long Distance Running Hall of Fame.
"I would like to thank Southwestern University administration, from President Edward Burger to Director of Athletics Dr. Glada Munt, for their tremendous support for Southwestern men and women's cross country and track & field. I am confident the programs will continue to flourish"
Coach Smith will continue to run the day-to-day operations for the program until July 31st while a nationwide-search for Southwestern's next head men's and women's cross country coach will begin immediately.