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Connie Price-Smith

Connie  Price-Smith

Hometown:
St. Charles, Mo.

Position:
Head Coach

Alma Mater:
Southern Illinois, 1985

Experience:
3rd Season (2017-18)

06/24/2017

Kendricks, Saunders Claim U.S. Titles Saturday

Ole Miss Alum Sam Kendricks Wins Pole Vault, Current Rebel Raven Saunders Shot Put

06/10/2017

Ole Miss Women Finish with Four All-America Honors

Janeah Stewart Earns All-America Accolades in Three Events

06/09/2017

Ole Miss Men Finish 14th at NCAA Outdoor Championships

Craig Engels, MJ Erb, Brian Williams All Place Top Four in Their Events

06/06/2017

Rebels Ready for NCAA Track & Field Championships

Eleven Ole Miss Athletes Set to Compete for National Titles this Week

05/18/2017

School-Record 34 Ole Miss Entries Accepted to NCAA East Prelims

Thirty-Two Rebels Will Attempt to Qualify for Next Month’s NCAA Championships

Updated 8/30/17

A USA Track & Field Hall of Famer with experience as an athlete and head coach at the Olympic level, Connie Price-Smith has directed the Ole Miss track & field and cross country programs to new heights in her first two years as head coach. 

Price-Smith, who was hired by athletics director Ross Bjork on July 21, 2015, has led the Rebels to some notable achievements entering her third season at the helm. Tops among them: 

  • Best NCAA men’s cross country result in school history (4th, 2016)
  • Best NCAA women’s cross country result in school history (23rd, 2016)
  • Best NCAA women’s indoor track & field result in school history (12th, 2017)
  • Best SEC men’s indoor track & field result in school history (3rd, 2016 and 2017)
  • Best SEC women’s indoor track & field result in school history (5th, 2017)
  • 3 individual NCAA titles (Raven Saunders 2016 outdoor shot put, 2017 indoor shot put; 2017 indoor men’s distance medley relay)
  • 17 individual SEC titles
  • 42 All-America selections

Since she arrived at Ole Miss, Price-Smith served as Team USA’s women’s track & field head coach for the 2016 Rio Olympics, was elected to the USA Track & Field Hall of Fame in 2016, and currently serves as the president of the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.

The 2016-17 season was a banner year for Ole Miss, as the Rebel men were third and the women eighth in the USTFCCCA’s NCAA Division I Program of the Year standings, which combines national finishes in cross country, indoor track and outdoor track. It was the best finish for either Rebel squad in program history.

After both cross country teams raced to their best SEC and NCAA results in school history, the indoor track season culminated with a pair of NCAA titles. Junior Raven Saunders won the women’s indoor shot put crown and broke her own collegiate record in the process, while Ole Miss captured its first relay national title with a win in the DMR by Craig Engels, Nick DeRay, Sean Tobin and Robert Domanic. Under Price-Smith’s leadership, the Ole Miss men finished fourth nationally in cross country, 16th in indoor track and 14th in outdoor track. The women were 23rd in cross country, 12th indoors and 29th outdoors. The Rebels set school records with two cross country All-Americans, 13 indoor All-Americans and nine SEC individual or relay titles.

In Price-Smith’s first season in 2015-16, she guided her teams to unprecedented levels of success. Ole Miss tied the then-program record with six indoor All-Americans and followed that up with a school-record 13 outdoor All-Americans. The men’s cross country team made its second consecutive NCAA Championship appearance, while the men’s indoor team tied for its best SEC finish in school history. Saunders broke the all-time indoor and outdoor collegiate records in the women’s shot put, won the NCAA outdoor shot put title and placed fifth in the Olympics as a sophomore.

A four-time U.S. Olympian as a world-class thrower, Price-Smith served 14 seasons as head coach at her alma mater, Southern Illinois University, after her professional athletic career ended. She led the Saluki women to four Missouri Valley Conference titles and finished a program-best ninth in the nation at the 2010 NCAA Outdoor Championships and 2015 NCAA Indoor Championships. She also directed the men to a pair of league titles.

A six-time MVC Coach of the Year, Price-Smith mentored 206 MVC individual champions, 19 MVC Most Valuable Athletes, 51 first team All-Americans and eight individual NCAA champions during her time as both the head women's coach (2002-04) and at the helm of the combined program (2005-15).

The 2015 season may have been the best in SIU track & field history, as Price-Smith guided the women's team to a ninth-place national finish indoors and 12th place outdoors. Her pupils were crowned NCAA individual champion three times in 2015, as freshman Raven Saunders captured the indoor and outdoor shot put titles and junior DeAnna Price won gold in the outdoor hammer throw.

In addition to Saunders and Price, the record-breaking female athletes who have flourished under Price-Smith include U.S. throwing standouts Brittany Riley, Jeneva Stevens and Gwen Berry, as well as Bahamian long jumper Bianca Stuart, among others. Men's standouts include throwers Josh Freeman and J.C. Lambert and high jumper Kyle Landon.

SIU became known as a home for NCAA champions under Price-Smith. In addition to Saunders and Price in 2015, other NCAA champions were Jeneva (then) McCall in the 2012 indoor weight throw and outdoor hammer; McCall in the 2010 outdoor discus; and Riley in the 2007 and 2008 indoor weight. National runners-up included Lambert in the 2012 indoor weight; McCall in the 2011 outdoor hammer and 2012 indoor shot put; Riley in the 2007 and 2008 outdoor hammer; and Amarachi Ukabam in the 2006 indoor weight.

Price-Smith's SIU teams finished top 25 at the NCAA Championships 11 times, including a pair of top-10 results. The women won MVC indoor titles in 2005 and 2009 and outdoor titles in 2009 and 2010. The men were crowned league indoor champions in 2012 and outdoor victors in 2015.

She was tabbed MVC Coach of the Year for the 2005 and 2009 indoor seasons, 2009 and 2010 outdoor seasons, 2012 indoors and 2015 outdoors.

Price-Smith is no stranger to coaching on the international stage, either. She was the head women's coach for Team USA at the 2011 IAAF World Championships (Daegu, South Korea), the 2013 World University Games (Kazan, Russia) and the 2007 Pan American Games (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil). She served as an assistant coach at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and 2012 London Olympics, as well as the 2004 World Junior Championships (Grosseto, Italy), the 2005 World Indoor Championships (Budapest, Hungary) and with the U.S. 2006 World Cup Team (Athens, Greece).

Price-Smith began her coaching career as a volunteer assistant coach at Ohio State upon the completion of her 15 years as a professional athlete.

During her decade-and-a-half career as a world-class thrower, Price-Smith was a 25-time U.S. champion in the shot put and discus and a member of 34 international U.S. squads. She participated in four Olympic Games - 2000 (Sydney), 1996 (Atlanta), 1992 (Barcelona) and 1988 (Seoul) – with a best finish of fifth in the shot put in her home country at the 1996 Atlanta Games. That’s the best finish by a U.S. woman in the event since 1960.

In 1992, Price-Smith became the first woman to win both the shot put and discus at an Olympic trial in 32 years. In 1995, she became the first U.S. woman in 35 years to win a World Championship medal in the shot put after claiming silver - still the highest finish by an American woman ever in the shot.

Price-Smith is a 1985 graduate of Southern Illinois University. She only competed in track & field her senior year at SIU after an outstanding four-year college basketball career. She still ranks among the school's all-time leaders with 1,271 points and 744 rebounds, while she maintains the single-season record for best field goal percentage at .650, which led the nation her junior year.

At the urging of SIU track & field standout John Smith, whom she married in 1990 and now coaches alongside, Price-Smith threw the shot put for the first time as a senior and quickly became dominant in both the shot and discus, winning MVC indoor and outdoor titles in the shot in 1985. And the rest is history.

A 1990 Saluki Hall of Fame inductee, Price-Smith also received the SIU Distinguished Alumni Award in 2001 and was named the Administrative/Professional Woman of Distinction in 2007. She was also selected for induction to the Drake Relays Hall of Fame in 2003 and the Missouri Valley Conference Hall of Fame in 2012 as an Institutional Great. In 2014, Price-Smith was enshrined into the St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame.

Connie Price-Smith Track and Field Career Highlights

  • Four-time Olympian (1988, 1992, 1996, 2000)
  • Finished fifth in the shot put in 1996, four and one-half inches away from a bronze medal
  • 1996 finish was the highest for an American in the shot since 1960 (Earlene Brown, third, Rome)
  • Her fifth-place throw of 63-0.5 was the longest throw ever by an American in the Olympics
  • Ended her career as one of only 14 female athletes and one of only 30 US athletes of either gender ever to compete in four Olympiads
  • Five-time Olympic Trials champion (three shot put titles, two discus titles)
  • Won every U.S. shot put title from 1992-99
  • Made every U.S. team for 15 years from her first season in 1987
  • In total, owns 18 USA outdoor national titles, seven indoor titles
  • Ended career with more national titles in the throws than any woman in U.S. history (25)
  • Set the USATF National Outdoor meet record in the shot put (19.60m/64-03.75)
  • In 1992, became the first woman to win both the shot put and discus at the Olympic Trials in 32 years (1960, Earlene Brown)
  • No thrower has doubled at the Olympic trials since
  • First woman to double (win both SP and DT) at national meet in 30 years; did so three times (1990, 1993, 1994)
  • Best female doubler in U.S. history, 15th-best ever in the world
  • First American woman to be world-ranked in six consecutive seasons
  • Seven-time international medalist (Pan-American Games (4x), IAAF World Championships (1x), IAAF World Cup (1x), Goodwill Games (1x))
  • 12-time IAAF World Championship qualifier
  • 1995 silver medalist at the IAAF Indoor World Championships (shot put)
  • 1995 WC medal was and is the highest medal for an American woman ever in the shot put; first since 1960 (Earlene Brown)
  • Only American thrower to ever make seven Grand Prix Finals
  • In the shot put, made 76 throws over 19 meters (62-05.00) and five over 64 feet
  • In the discus, made 48 throws over 200 feet and nine over 210 feet
  • Shot put personal best: 19.60m (64-03.75)
  • Discus personal best: 64.82m (212-08)

Connie Price-Smith Basketball Career Highlights

  • Was a member of the Saluki women's basketball team from 1980-84
  • Her junior season (1982-83), she led the nation in field goal percentage at .650 -- an all-time SIU single-season record
  • Ranked tied for sixth all-time in scoring (1,271)
  • Fifth all-time in field goal percentage (.571)
  • Seventh all-time in rebounding (744)

Connie Price-Smith SIU Coaching Career Highlights

  • Saluki Track and Field head coach from 2004-15; Saluki Women's Track and Field coach from 2001-04
  • Six-time MVC Coach of the Year (2005 & 2009 indoor, 2009 & 2010 outdoor, 2012 indoor, 2015 outdoor)
  • Six MVC team championships (2005 & 2009 women's indoor, 2009 & 2010 women's outdoor, 2012 men's indoor, 2015 men's outdoor)
  • Coached 51 All-Americans and eight NCAA national champions
  • Coached 206 MVC champions and 19 MVC Most Valuable Athletes

Awards and Honors

  • President of the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (2017)
  • USATF Hall of Fame (2016)
  • St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame (2014)
  • MVC Hall of Fame (2012)
  • Drake Relays Hall of Fame (2003)
  • Saluki Hall of Fame (1990)
  • SIU Distinguished Alumni Award (2001)
  • SIU Administrative/Professional Woman of Distinction (2007)
  • In 2013, Lew Hartzog Track and Field Complex and Connie Price-Smith Throws Area were dedicated, the first facility on SIU's campus named after an African-American female

Connie Price-Smith Throwing Career Highlights

Four-time Olympian:
1988 (Seoul): 16th discus, 18th shot
1992 (Barcelona): 20th discus
1996 (Atlanta): 5th shot
2000 (Sydney): 16th shot

Five-time Olympic Trials Champion:
1988 (Indianapolis): 1st discus, 3rd shot
1992 (New Orleans): 1st shot, 1st discus
1996 (Atlanta): 1st shot
2000 (Sacramento): 1st shot

IAAF Outdoor World Championships Finishes:
1987 (Rome): 12th, discus
1991 (Tokyo): 11th, shot
1995 (Gothenburg): 9th, shot
1997 (Athens): 5th, shot
1999 (Seville): 11th, shot

IAAF Indoor World Championships Finishes:
1989 (Budapest): 10th, shot
1991 (Seville): 9th, shot
1993 (Toronto): 9th, shot
1995 (Barcelona): 2nd, shot (silver medal)
1997 (Paris): 6th, shot
1999 (Maebashi): 4th, shot
2001 (Lisbon): 10th, shot

Four-time Pan American Games medalist:
1987 (Indianapolis): 3rd discus (bronze medal)
1991 (Havana): 2nd shot (silver medal)
1995 (Mar del Plata): 1st shot (gold medal)
1999 (Winnipeg): 1st shot (gold medal)

IAAF World Cup (now the IAAF Continental Cup) finishes:
1989 (Barcelona): 8th shot, 7th discus
1992 (Havana): 4th shot, 7th discus
1994 (London): 4th shot
1998 (Johannesburg): 3rd shot (bronze medal)

Goodwill Games finishes (discontinued in 2005):
1990 (Seattle): 7th shot, 8th discus
1994 (Saint Petersburg): 6th shot, 9th discus
1998 (New York City): 2nd shot (silver medal)
2001 (Brisbane): 8th shot

IAAF Grand Prix Finals (discontinued in 2002):
1991 (Barcelona): 8th shot
1992 (Turin): 8th discus
1993 (London): 7th shot
1994 (Paris): 8th discus
1995 (Monte Carlo): 6th shot
1997 (Fukoka): 5th shot
1999 (Munich): 3rd shot
2001 (Melbourne): 6th shot

World University Games finishes:
1987 (Zagreb): 4th discus, 7th shot

Email Coach Price-Smith

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