Chris Smith began his coaching career at UMPI coaching cross country part-time in the fall of 1987 and 1988, while working on his second bachelor’s degree. He was hired full-time in December of 1989 and this fall, Chris is coaching cross country for his 25th season.
During his long and distinguished career, Chris has coached his squads to 19 Team Championships: the Northeast College Conference for Men (1990) and for Men and Women (1992); The NAIA District 5 Men (1992) and for Men and Women (1993); Maine Athletic Conference for Men and Women (1994); the NAIA Northeast Region X for Women (1994); the Dirigo Cup for Men (1995 & 1999); the NAIA Northeast Region X for Men (1999); the NCAA AD3I Men and Women (1996) and Men (1997); and the NAIA Sunrise Athletic Conference for Women (2008-2010).
These outstanding coaching results led to Chris being named Coach of the Year an amazing 11
times as follows: NAIA District 5 Men’s in 1992 and 1993; NAIA Northeast Regional Women’s in 1994, and Men’s in 1999; the USA Track Association NAIA Bi-Regional Men’s in 1999; the NAIA Maine Athletic Conference Women’s in 2001; the NCAA AD3I for Men and Women in 2006; and the Sunrise Conference for Women in 2008, 2009, and 2010.
Athletes under Chris’s guidance have competed in the NAIA National Championships for 16 of the 24 seasons completed; individuals from 1989 through 2002, 2009, and 2010; men’s teams 1992, 1993, and 1999; and women’s in 1993 and 1994. This translates to 145 individual athletes earning spots on all conference, all district, all region, all Dirigo Cup, or NCAA Association of Division 3 Independents teams.
In addition to coaching cross country for UMPI, Chris has also served as the UMPI Hockey Club Advisor from 2006 through the present and as the UMPI Track and Field Club Advisor/Coach for 2010 and 2011. He has also served on the NAIA National Ranking Committee for Men and/or Women, most recently in 2009.
Race Directing is also a big part of Chris’s career. He has directed the UMPI Spring Runoff 5K for 23 years since April of 1989; the 2010 Presque Isle Sesquicentennial 5K; the Caribou Labor Day 8K since 2009; the NAIA Northeast Regional preliminary and championship races in 1995 and 1999 with two races each year; the TAC USA (now known as USATF) age group races; and the Sam Ouelet Memorial.
Chris has also been very active in athletic ventures outside of UMPI. Other coaching and instructing have included, Assistant Instructor for Choi’s School of Self-Defense in Portland in 1986 and 1987; Presque Isle Middle School Boys’ and Girls’ Cross Country for 1987, 1988, and 1989; his own karate classes at UMPI from 1989 to 1995; Director/Co-Director of “The Cross Country Running Camp at UMPI” from 1994 to 1998; Presque Isle High School Track and Field for jumps for four years, and for middle, long distance and race walking for one year; and Presque Isle Middle School Boys’ Track and Field for the last three years. He taught Wellness Labs at UMPI from 1996 to 2008. In addition, Chris has served as the President or “Bull” of the Aroostook Musterds (the local running club) since October of 2008.
On a personal competition level, Chris was the winner of the Aroostook Triathlon in 1983, 1984, and 1985. He qualified for and participated in the United States Triathlon Association National Championships in 1985. Chris continues to train for and compete in road and cross country races from the mile to half marathon distances.
Chris earned his Masters of Education degree from the University of Maine in 2002. When not involved in some athletic pursuit either for one of his teams or for his own personal satisfaction, Chris enjoys all outdoor activities, is a prolific reader, and is often roped into various historical society endeavors by his wife, Kim – who he met when they ran track and cross country together in high school.
(Inducted on September 24th, 2011)