Southeast Missouri State University student publication

Miles Smith returns to coach track and field sprinters

Monday, September 30, 2013

Southeast Missouri State University welcomes back one of its former athletes. Miles Smith, who attended Southeast from 2004-2008 and is back as an assistant coach, specifically coaching the track and field sprinters.

"I feel great," Smith said. "I have a real nice support system here. I have great chemistry with the coaching staff, the athletic department, administration period."

While attending Southeast, Smith was extremely successful. He was All-American five times and male Ohio Valley Conference track athlete of the year four times.

"It's funny, I know exactly what they used to feel like, and I think it actually works to my advantage," Smith said. "I know what their bodies are going through, and I think that makes [coaching] better."

Coaching at the school he competed for works well for him and Smith uses the campus to his benefit.

"Knowing the campus works to my advantage well, knowing where to train at," Smith said.

The team does not just use the track to train, it also uses places around campus like the hills next to the Southeast tennis courts.

Jennifer Watt, a freshman sprinter, said that lifting is a big part of her improvement.

"[Smith] is big on technique, making sure your form looks good in the weight room," she said.

Watt said that just in three weeks of training, she has seen major improvements and that she hopes that Smith will help the team win championships this season.

Kendrick Farr, a returning sprinter for Southeast, said that training this season is a bit harder than last.

"We run a lot longer and do things to get our feet off the ground quicker," he said.

Farr also finds Smith to be a major motivation for him, too.

"I see what he's done and what he is driving and I think to myself, 'Dang, I want to get there,'" he said.

It's not all about how fast the athletes can run or how quick their feet get off the ground, though. Smith is bringing a family feeling among team members.

"[The coaching staff] wants to instill a real family feel, know how to be a team really," Smith said.

Smith said he wants to bring the whole team together to create a big support system for all events.

"I think in the past years it hasn't been like that so much," he said.

Though a big track family is the goal, one of Smith's teaching techniques is to set intermediate goals for his athletes. In the past years the sprints team has had their ups and down, according to Smith.

"I want to instill a winning attitude," he said. "To be a good winner you have to set intermediate goals. We will [set goals] all the way up to OVC," he said.

Smith used this technique during his time at Southeast and took it with him all the way to his two Olympic trials in 2008 and 2012.