SE: Meet the Assistants | Jordan Smith
SE: Meet the Assistants | Jordan Smith
By Kelly McHugh-Stewart
Looking forward to the 2015-16 athletics season, K-State Sports Extra is spending the next few Wednesdays introducing its readers to K-State Athletics’ new assistant coaches! With new faces in K-State’s volleyball, tennis, soccer and baseball programs and familiar faces stepping up in the women’s basketball and rowing programs, we are excited to introduce you to a few of the newest members of the K-State family.
Jordan Smith: K-State Tennis Assistant Coach
Hometown: Memphis, Tennessee
Previous position: Middle Tennessee men’s tennis assistant coach
Though Jordan Smith had never stepped foot in the state of Kansas prior to his hiring as K-State women’s tennis assistant coach, right now, there’s no place he’d rather be.
The Memphis, Tennessee, native spent his entire tennis career – both collegiately and professionally – in the state of Tennessee, and, though the game took him all over the country, he never landed in Kansas.
Until now, that is.
“Kansas was one of the few states that I hadn’t been to in all of my travels with tennis, and it’s definitely been interesting to learn a new and different environment,” explained Smith. “But I love it here. I just love how the whole city is on board with the program and supports us. It’s been awesome. Everybody who I’ve met, the administration, the other coaches, they’ve all been so friendly, so that’s been the best thing so far.”
The young, aspiring coach comes to K-State after spending one season at Middle Tennessee where he assisted the Blue Raiders men’s squad to a 13-13 season. He also had a hand in bringing in the 25th-best recruiting class in the nation in 2015 according to TennisRecruiting.com.
“I am excited Jordan is joining us here at K-State,” said Wildcat head coach Danielle Steinberg when Smith’s hiring was announced. “His player development experience, as well as his ability to connect and relate to the student-athletes will make an immediate and positive impact on our program. Jordan shares a lot of my coaching philosophies and is ready to give his 100 percent for our players and program.”
Smith played tennis for Memphis from 2007-11 before volunteering with the Tigers as an assistant coach in 2012. Following his time at Memphis, he spent three years working with the U.S. International Indoor Championships in Memphis as well as coaching junior team competitions.
K-State Sports Extra recently sat down with Smith.
Sports Extra: How did you come about this job at K-State?
Jordan Smith: We had a mutual contact, Lee Walker, who I worked for at the University of Memphis. He is now the head coach at TCU, so he connected me a year or so ago with Danielle when she was still at McNeese State. We talked about me possibly taking an assistant position with her there, then I got hired at Middle Tennessee, and she got hired here and we’ve just kind of stayed in touch. Then when this job opened up, we reached out and it’s all worked out since then.
SE: How does it feel to finally be here and play a big role in the K-State tennis program?
JS: It’s very exciting. I’m honored to be a part of such a big conference and to be a part of a school with so much history. I’ve never been a part of this caliber of school, so I’m ready to get started and ready to go.
SE: You’re both fairly young coaches, so do you think you and Coach Steinberg work well together?
JS: Definitely. We have similar interests and we have the same ideas of how we want to grow the team, how we want to make it better. This is her second year here and my first year being on staff, so I think we have a lot of room to grow and we have a lot of potential. We have that fresh drive that a lot of young coaches have; it’s awesome.
SE: How would you describe your coaching style?
JS: I’m very energetic on the court. I think I’m very reserved when it comes to matches. I want the players to be calm, but definitely in practice or in big moments I can get animated, which I feel is a good thing because I want them to see that I have that confidence in them.
SE: Finally, what are your goals for your time at K-State?
JS: I think the biggest thing is that we want to have a bigger impact this season in the Big 12. We want to go further in the conference tournament and get back into the national standings. And right now, I think we are definitely capable of that.