“He has been as successful as any coach in the country, managing and overseeing combined programs,” Pollard said Saturday night. “I worked with him at Wisconsin. There’s not a person that will recruit harder in this sport.
“He’s got a vision that we share to not only be a premier track and cross-country program for men and women at Iowa State, but to help us elevate this program to the way it was under coach (Bill) Bergan.”
Within 30 minutes of learning Ihmels would leave, Pollard said he contacted Oklahoma for permission to speak with Smith, who been coaching the Sooners since 2005. There was a “tremendous” amount of interest in the opening, Pollard said, and four or five were in the mix.
It was Smith who was “the No. 1 choice,” however. Pollard and Smith became acquainted in the late 1990s at Wisconsin, where Smith coached and Pollard was a senior associate athletic director. Previously, Smith led the Badger men’s cross-country teams to national titles in 1985 and 1988, and in the early 1980s he directed the Virginia women’s cross-country team to two championships and its indoor track and field squad to another.
Smith signed a seven-year contract with an annual base salary of $200,000, Pollard said. There are also incentives for achieving certain successes. (Ames Tribune)