Miles Smith chosen as next track and field head coach - Abilene Christian University Athletics (2024)

ABILENE – Miles Smith, assistant coach from Purdue, will be the next head coach of the ACU track and field program. Zack Lassiter, vice president for athletics at ACU, made the announcement on Tuesday after a national search.

"When I heard ACU was looking for a head coach, I was so excited and intrigued at the opportunity to become the head coach because of the program's storied tradition," Smith said. "I went to Southeast Missouri State in my collegiate days, and all of our stadium records were owned by Abilene Christian. The two schools would battle it out for national championships in the Division II days, so I have always had an admiration for ACU."

Smith will be the 22nd head coach of ACU's storied track and field program and is looking to build a culture inspired by his collegiate head coach, Joey Haines, who was friends with Wes Kittley, ACU's former head coach who is now at Texas Tech.

"I can't wait to build our culture, to build our language and to establish our vision," Smith said. "Our vision is one of Christian competition, student-athlete experience, academic competitiveness and an overall competitive success. That is the culture that I can't wait to build."

Smith is also eager to meet and build relationships with the student-athletes and is looking forward to his arrival in Abilene.

"As for the student-athletes, I can't wait to meet and get to know each one of them," Smith said. "I'm ready to make sure they have a world-class experience and again, ready to build a championship and spiritual culture that hopefully impacts their lives."

Prior to accepting the head coaching position, Smith served as Purdue's long sprint coach for six seasons as well as the program's lead spiritual coordinator. In his six seasons as an assistant coach in West Lafayette, Indiana, he coached seven NCAA Championship qualifiers and multiple All-Americans. Smith also saw 13 top-10 times in school history set by his runners, including the men's 4x400-meter relay team's record-setting performance at the 2024 Big 10 Championship meet.

​​"Miles is the perfect person to lead our storied track and field program," said Lassiter. "His own personal story of competing at the highest level in the sport from humble beginnings is inspiring. But he is much more than just his own accomplishments on the track. His infectious energy and passion combined with his years of experience in developing young men and women on the track and in life stood out during our search process. I can't wait to watch him lead our track program back to prominence."

Smith came to Purdue from Memphis, where he helped the Tigers sprint program to its finest performance in decades. In his two years as an assistant coach, he oversaw the men's team to a 20th-place finish at the NCAA Championships. Additionally, Smith coached four NCAA championship qualifiers, four NCAA All-America Honorable Mentions, a program-high two American Athletic Conference (AAC) team runner-up finishes, 25 All-AAC performers and 10 program records.

Smith moved to the coaching ranks after a stellar professional track and field career. In 2005, Smith was a member of the gold-medal winning 4x400-meter relay at the IAAF World Championships in Helsinki, Finland. Additionally, he was a United States Olympic Trials semifinalist in the 400-meters in both 2008 and 2012, and also a 400-meter finalist at the U.S. Outdoor Track and Field Championships in 2005 (sixth place), 2009 (eighth) and 2011 (sixth).

As a student-athlete at Southeast Missouri, Smith earned All-America honors five times in the 400-meters (indoor and outdoor combined). A 15-time Ohio Valley Conference champion, Smith was named the OVC Athlete of the Year three times, in 2005, 2006 and 2008. He stills owns five school records, in the 400-meters (indoor and outdoor), 200-meters (indoor) and 4x400-meter relay (indoor and outdoor).

Smith graduated from Southeast Missouri in 2008 with a degree in mass communication. He was inducted into the Southeast Missouri Athletics Hall of Fame in 2014 and also elected to the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame in 2016.

Smith's family includes his wife, Michelle, and his five sons, Kyle (16), Milo (7), Mikko (6), Miles (2) and Mikyle (7 months).

What they are saying about Miles Smith:

"What a great hire for ACU! Miles is one of the greatest 400m runners in Division II history. I got to watch him run when I coached at ACU. As a coach, Miles has alway left every program that he coached better than he found it! Miles is a family man and has a "true servant" heart! His expertise and knowledge will be so welcomed at my alma mater! Miles will definitely be welcomed on the Hill." - Wes Kittley, Head Track and Field Coach at Texas Tech

"This is an excellent hire for ACU! Coach Smith will bring a wealth of knowledge, passion and a competitive drive to a storied program. He will be able to lead the program to new heights and I look forward to his success." - Erik Jenkins, Director of Track and Field at the University of South Florida

"Miles Smith is such a great hire! He is so well respected in the Big Ten Conference and will be missed. He will do great things for ACU's program. Passionate, integrity and tireless recruiter are three things that immediately come to my mind when I think of Coach Smith." - Kareem Jackson, Associate Head Coach at the University of Wisconsin

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Miles Smith chosen as next track and field head coach - Abilene Christian University Athletics (2024)
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