FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Northern Arizona University and Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Dr. Lisa Campos are pleased to announce the hiring of Michael Smith as the new Director of Cross Country and Track & Field.
"I am thrilled to welcome Michael Smith to the NAU Lumberjack family," said Campos. "Michael embodies the integrity, competiveness and abilities to lead the NAU cross country and track & field student-athletes. His experience coupled with his personal knowledge of NAU's rich history and tradition will help him build on a nationally competitive cross country and track & field program."
Smith comes to NAU with championship experience and a background in altitude training. He spent the last four years at Georgetown University, most recently serving as the Director/Head Coach of the Men's and Women's Cross Country and Track & Field programs during the 2015-16 school year. Prior to Georgetown, Smith lived in Flagstaff for six years, and founded Team Run Flagstaff, while also working under Dr. Jack Daniels at NAU's Center for High Altitude Training, a U.S. Olympic Training Site for long distance running.
NAU President Dr. Rita Cheng called the hiring of Smith exceptional. "NAU, our student athletes, and the Flagstaff community all benefit by bringing Michael Smith home. His experience and reputation will also ensure that we are able to maintain our strong recruitment efforts," Cheng offered.
"I want to thank Dr. Campos and the search committee for the incredible opportunity that I'm honored to accept as Director of Cross Country and Track & Field," Smith said. "I'm truly honored and thrilled to return to the Flagstaff community; it's always felt like home to me. The tradition for leading student-athletes to championship success has been set before me by the excellent coaches that have led the program. I hope to build upon the legacy that NAU cross country and track & field has set not only in the Big Sky, but across the nation."
Smith recently coached the NCAA Champion Women's Distance Medley Relay in 2016. During Smith's four-year stint with the Hoya's, he coached 47 All-Americans, 23 NCAA Championship qualifiers, and two Olympic Trials participants. In 2015, the Georgetown men's cross country team won the Big East Championship, going on to place 10th at the NCAA National Championship. The women's cross country program has advanced to the national championship every season under Smith's guidance, including Top 5 finishes in 2013 and 2014.
A former All-BIG EAST, All-Region, and All-America cross country runner at Georgetown, Smith was a 2007 qualifier for the U.S. Olympic Trials in the marathon, competing in November 2007.
To provide a seamless transition for the team, recruitment and coaching, Smith will join the team this fall semester, while current Director of Cross County and Track &Field, Eric Heins, continues coaching the cross country teams. Heins will retire with a resume of 29 Big Sky Championships, eight top-10 national finishes, and 27 Big Sky Coach of the Year honors.
"Having known Michael over the last 10 years, I am extremely proud to see his development as a coach," added Heins. "I feel fortunate to get to work with Michael during the upcoming cross country season and I know the track & field/cross country program is in great hands."