Martin Smith is starting his third year at Iowa State as Director of Men's and Women's Track and Field and Cross Country, which has already seen the Cyclones attain success under his direction.
The 2015 season was highlighted by Edward Kemboi’s indoor-outdoor sweep of the 800-meter run national championships, the second straight year ISU has had a student-athlete sweep national titles after Christina Hillman took both shot put crowns in 2014.
Under Smith, Iowa State track and field has had 28 All-America honors in his first two seasons at the helm. Iowa State has also seen 10 school records change hands under Smith, including Kemboi’s 1:45.58 in the 800-meter run at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.
He and his staff have also helped bring depth into the track and field programs. To go with the 10 school records, Smith has seen 91 new entries onto ISU’s all-time top-10 lists for indoor and outdoor events.
On the cross country course, Smith has led the men’s program to consecutive third-place finishes in the Midwest Regional Meet and a pair of top-three finishes in the Big 12. ISU’s second-place finish in 2013 tied the best finish by the men in the Big 12 era. Smith has seen ISU earn seven all-region honors, five All-Big 12 honors and two trips to the NCAA Championships via Dan Curts in 2014 and Mohamed Hrezi in 2013, who notched the highest men’s individual finish since 1995 at the NCAA championships, placing 24th overall to earn All-America recognition.
The Cyclone women’s team has now won four-straight Big 12 cross country titles and capped 2015 by finishing as NCAA runners-up, led by All-America efforts from Crystal Nelson and Katy Moen. The Cyclone women have had 10 All-Big 12 performances, nine All-Region efforts and four All-Americans in the past two seasons.
Smith is a five-time national championship coach and previously served most recently as Head Coach for Track & Field / Cross Country at Oklahoma (2005-13), where he led the Sooners to 2007 Big 12 outdoor championship, their first in nearly 30 years.
Prior to that, he led or worked with track & field and cross country programs at Oregon (1998-05), Wisconsin (1983-98), Virginia (1980-83) and George Mason (1979-80). His coaching career started at Oakton (Va.) High School, where his team won a state title.
Smith’s expertise and greatest successes have come in the distance events and cross country and that will be the backbone of his Iowa State teams, too. Smith will lead a Cyclone program poised to establish itself as a collegiate power for long-distance runners.
Smith’s teams won national championships in 1981 (Virginia women’s cross country and indoor track), 1982 (Virginia women’s cross country) and 1985 and 1988 (Wisconsin men’s cross country). In a 35-year collegiate career, Smith has coached over 300 All-Americans and his teams have won 26 conference championships.
Smith was two-time (1985 and 1988) NCAA Cross Country Coach-of-the-Year for the Badgers, and he has earned nine league Coach-of-the-Year honors in three different conferences. He was Big 12 Men’s Coach of the Year both outdoors (2007) and indoors (2010) at OU.
In six seasons with the Sooners, Oklahoma set all-time Big 12 best finishes in all six of the sports he supervised (women’s and men’s indoor and outdoor track & field and cross country). OU won the Big 12 Men’s Outdoor title in 2007 and added a Big 12 Men’s Indoor championship in 2010.
The Oklahoma women’s program had its best-ever finish at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championship (fourth) in 2011 and the men’s program was fifth nationally in the John McDonnell “Program-of-the-Year” standings (conducted by the USTFCCCA) that season.
Oregon recorded 15 Top-20 finishes at the NCAA Championships during his tenure there. He coached 65 All-Americans with the Ducks and directed both the men’s and women’s track & field and cross country programs beginning in 2003 after the retirement of Tom Heinonen.
The Cyclone track & field program will focus on enhancing its brand as a premiere program in which to train and compete.
Smith is known as a relentless recruiter and superb program builder and motivator. His methods are well tested and successful.
Smith, a native of Alexandria, Va., earned his B.A. degree in history and political science from Bridgewater College (1974). The three-sport letterman for the Eagles was inducted into that institution’s athletics hall of fame in 2004.
He is married to the former Renee Schwister, who has one son (Ross).