Michael Smith is entering his 21st year as a member of the track and field coaching staff at K-State and 10th year at the helm of the men's and women's cross country teams. Since arriving in Manhattan in 1994, Smith has played an integral role in the success of the K-State cross country and track & field teams in the Big 12 Conference and at the NCAA Championships. During his tenure, the Wildcats have won three women's team championships in the Big 12 conference (1998 cross country, 2001 and 2002 outdoor track and field), earned their highest ever women's NCAA team finish in cross country (1999: 5th) and have had several top-10 team finishes in men's and women's track and field.
Smith took over the reins of the cross country programs in 2004. In his nine years leading the men's and women's cross country teams, he has guided four individuals (2004, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012) and one team (2010 women) to the NCAA championships, including five consecutive trips to the NCAA Cross Country Championship from 2008-12 where K-State was represented on the women's side.
In 2010, the women's cross country team returned to the NCAA Championships by earning the last at large bid to the 31 team field. The Wildcats went on to finish 25th in their first team appearance since 2000. On the men's side, Mathew Chesang's 2004 senior cross country campaign was one of K-State's most outstanding individual cross country seasons in recent memory. Chesang finished third at the Big 12 Championships, second at the Midwest Regional Championships and capped off his senior season with an All-American performance at the NCAA Championships. Chesang's 12th-place finish was the highest NCAA placing for a Wildcat male since Jerome Howe's 10th place finish in 1971, and the first Wildcat men's cross country All-American since 1992.
As the assistant cross country coach at K-State from 1994-2004, Smith was instrumental in the success enjoyed by the women's and men's cross country teams. During that time period the K-State women won the 1998 Big 12 title in Lincoln, Neb., captured three consecutive Midwest Regional titles (1998, 1999, 2000) and garnered NCAA finishes of 13th, 5th and 10th (1998-2000). The Big 12 women's victory in 1998 was the only Big 12 cross country team title not won by the University of Colorado until Texas Tech's win in 2008.
Under Smith's leadership on the track, the Wildcat mid-distance/distance group has launched a steady advance into the top-10 all-time performances of the K-State track and field record books. In doing so, Smith's athletes have won 16 conference championships, set 23 individual school records, earned 22 All-American certificates and set four Big 12 meet records. During his tenure, Smith has guided nine Wildcat men under 1:50 in the 800 meters, four of whom ran under 1:48. Six wildcat women have run faster than 2:07 under Smith's guidance.
Sonia Gaskin has been the most recent athlete to excel under Smith's tutelage. A native of St. George, Barbados, Gaskin had a dominant sophomore year that included first team All-American honors in the 800m and 4x400m relay outdoors. She became the first Wildcat women's runner since Korene Hinds in 2001 to earn first team in the 800m outdoors and holds K-State top-10 marks in the 400m, 800m outdoors and 400m, 600y and 800m indoors.
Former Wildcats that have excelled under Smith include All-Americans Martina Tresch, Boglarka Bozzay (now Davies), as well as 2008 USA Olympian Christian Smith.
Tresch's most successful season in K-State purple came in 2013 where she won the Big 12 Championship in the steeplechase and earned her 2nd All-American honor in the steeplechase at the NCAA Championships. She is the current school record holder in the event, clocking in at 9:51.96.
For Bozzay, she was a two-time All American and Big 12 Champion. She currently holds three K-State school records as well. In 2012, Bozzay set the indoor school record in the 800 meter with a time of 2:05.16 and earned USTFCCCA All-America First Team honors in the same event. She capped off the 2012 indoor season with a Big 12 Championship title in the 1000m. 2011 was one of Bozzay's most successful seasons as a Wildcat as she earned All-American second team honors in the 800 meters indoors while being a part of record-setting relay teams in the outdoor 4x800m (8:34.81) and 4x1600m (19:19:48).
On the men's side, Christian's K-State career accolades include: the 2006 NCAA Indoor Championship in the mile, a collegiate record in the 1000m run (2:19.57), four Big 12 titles, five All-American awards and three school records (1000m, 800m-1:44.86, 1500m-3:38.10). The highlight of Smith's post-collegiate coaching career came in 2008 at the US Olympic Trials in Eugene, Ore. In one of the most dramatic finishes in Olympic Trials history, Christian dived for the finish line to earn the third and final spot on the U.S. Olympic team to Beijing.
Smith also serves as the personal coach for K-State alumnus Beverly Ramos and helped guide her to qualify for the past two IAAF World Outdoor Championships, the 2013 IAAF World Cross Country Championships as well as the 2012 London Olympics for Puerto Rico in the steeplechase. Ramos won three medals (2 gold, 1 bronze) at the 2010 Central American and Caribbean Games setting meet records in the 5,000 meters and steeplechase. Ramos owns the K-State school record in the indoor 5000m and is second on the all-time list in the 1500m, 3000m steeplechase, outdoor 5000m, 6km cross country, and indoor 3000m. She is the Puerto Rican national record holder at every event from 1500m to 10,000m.
In addition to his coaching duties, Smith currently serves as an instructor for the USTFCCCA specialist certification and USATF Level II coaching education program in the endurance events. Prior to arriving in Manhattan in 1994, Smith spent two years coaching at Skyline High School in California and one season at the William Penn Charter High School in Philadelphia.
A native of Ridgefield, Conn., Smith graduated from Bucknell University (1988) with a bachelor's degree in animal behavior. He went on to earn an M.A. in geography from the State University of New York at Albany (1989), and an M.S. degree in Kinesiology from Kansas State (1996). Smith is married to Jill Wise Smith. The couple has three children: Sydney, Aidan, and Jackson.