Smith signs five-year contract
University of Missouri Sports Information
Columbia, Mo. -- Missouri Director of Athletics Mike Alden announced today that wrestling Head Coach Brian Smith has signed a five-year contract that will have him leading the Tigers through the year 2012.
"We're very pleased to be able to do this for Coach Smith and the Tiger wrestling program," Alden said. "Securing Brian in this way helps ensure the stability of the program and it is undoubtedly a win-win situation for everyone involved. The job that Brian and his staff have done to build this into one of the nation's premier programs has been remarkable to watch, and he's been such an outstanding representative of the University of Missouri over the years. This is a great day for Mizzou."
Coming off of a season in which the Tigers recorded a program-high third place finish at the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships and tied the previous Missouri wrestling best Big 12 finish at second, Smith will enter his 10th season with the Tigers this coming fall. In dual competition, Smith earned his 100th Missouri career win Dec. 9, 2006, with a 31-9 victory over then-No. 11 Central Michigan. Smith is 110-55-1 in his nine years at Missouri and owns the highest Tiger wrestling coach winning percentage at 66 percent.
"When I came to Missouri I had a vision of where I wanted to take the wrestling program," Smith said. "We are getting closer but there is still more work to be done and goals to accomplish. Contrary to the rumors that had me leaving Missouri, I have had no reason to want to leave the University and have had every reason to stay here. Most importantly, my family and I love the Columbia and the University communities. My wife teaches at the same school all three of my children attend and we've been involved in trying to bring a new Catholic High School to Columbia and that is going to happen. Another reason this is one of the best coaching jobs in the country is because of the tremendous support given by the wrestling alumni, boosters and fans. My administrators, Mike Alden and Sarah Reesman have shown continued support for the program since I began my career here in 1998. My goal and theirs is to win a national championship."
Since Smith's inaugural season, the Tigers have continued to improve both on the mat and in the classroom. Missouri crowned its first wrestling Big 12 Champion in 2003 with Tyron Woodley (Ferguson, Mo.) and its first wrestling National Champion last season in Ben Askren (Hartland, Wis.), a feat he repeated in 2007. A total of eight wrestlers have earned 15 All-America honors with seven earning nine Big 12 titles. Askren, Missouri's 174 pounder, has received national recognition as a two-time Dan Hodge Trophy Award recipient, wrestling's equivalent to the Heisman, as well as multiple tournament honors and was named the 2006 NCAA Championship Most Outstanding Wrestler.
"This was a very important deal for us to complete. Brian's stock has risen tremendously over the past few years and we wanted to recognize him for all the wonderful things he and his staff and student-athletes have accomplished," Senior Associate Athletic Director Reesman said. "There is no one I would rather have running this program. Brian's expectations mirror the department's and institution's in every aspect, from athletics to academics to community service. This program is one in which the entire Mizzou community may take great pride."