SIU alumna was a six-time MVC Coach of the Year
A four-time Olympian and 25-time national champion in the shot put and discus, Price-Smith has a distinguished career as both a competitor and coach at the world level.
Saunders' win today ensures her a spot on Team USA for the Pan-American Junior Championships, held in Edmonton, Canada from July 31-Aug. 2.
The USA Senior and Junior national meets will be held simultaneously this week in Eugene.
James earns Honorable Mention All-American status for his finish.
Photos from Day One of the MVC Outdoor Championships in Normal, Ill.; May 15, 2015
Photos from Day Three of the 57th running of the historic Mt. SAC Relays in Walnut, Calif., on April 18, 2015.
Photos from Day Two of the 2015 SIU Invitational at the SIU Recreation Center, Feb. 7, 2015.
Office Phone: 618-453-5460
Email Head Coach Connie Price-Smith
A four-time Olympian and one of the most decorated athletes Southern Illinois has produced, Connie Price-Smith enters her 15th season as head coach at her alma mater in 2015-16. After spending her first three years as the head women's coach, Price-Smith took over the combined men's and women's program in 2004-05 and has since kept SIU track and field among the top programs in the Missouri Valley Conference and as one of the top mid-majors in the nation.
Under Price-Smith, a 1990 Saluki Hall of Fame inductee, SIU's women's team has won four conference titles and finished a program-best ninth in the nation at the 2010 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships -- the third best finish of either gender in SIU history. A six-time MVC Coach of the Year, Price-Smith has coached 206 MVC individual champions, 51 First-Team All-Americans and eight individual NCAA champions during her time as both the head women's coach (2002-04) and at the helm of the combined program (2005-Present).
Price-Smith and the Salukis are coming off one of the most exciting and prolific seasons in Saluki track and field history -- which is illustrious in its own right. No. 1-ranked national recurit Raven Saunders wasted no time establishing herself as the best shot putter in SIU, MVC and American Junior history, completely rewriting the record books en route to an indoor and outdoor NCAA sweep of the shot put title. Saunders shattered both the indoor (18.62m/61-01.25) and outdoor (18.35m/60-02.50) U.S. junior records and brought national attention to Southern Illinois all season long.
Saunders was but one of several superb females Price-Smith coached in 2014-15. Junior DeAnna Price, coming off a season-ending knee injury in 2014, shocked the world with an NCAA title in the hammer throw on a meet record heave of 71.49m (234-06). That win was the start of the most sublime day in SIU track history, as mere hours later Saunders would win her outdoor title -- giving SIU two NCAA titles within five hours of each other and catapulting the SIU women to the top of the national leaderboard, if only for a moment.
Just two weeks later in the same ring, Price nearly won a USA title, finishing as the runner-up at 72.30m (237-02) -- becoming the 8th-best hammer thrower in American history in the process. Price was also an indoor All-American in the weight throw in third place.
The performances of Price and Saunders -- as well as indoor All-American weight thrower Sophia Lozano -- helped the SIU women to a program-best ninth-place finish at the indoor national meet and a 12th-place finish outdoors. Indoors, SIU was tied with LSU for ninth and finished ahead of 12 schools who outranked them heading into the championships -- most coming from Power-5 conferences.
Perhaps the most exhilarating day was May 17, 2015, when Price-Smith completed the career sweep of the MVC team titles. Picked to finish third and coming off a fifth-place finish outdoors in 2014, the Saluki men stunned the Valley and came away with the outdoor men's title -- SIU's first since 1992. The Saluki men utterly dominated the field events, winning titles in all three jumping events, all three throwing events and the men's pole vault. For her efforts, Price-Smith was awarded her sixth-career MVC Coach of the Year Award.
The 2014 season was another productive year for Price-Smith and the Salukis, who took home nine more individual MVC titles across both the indoor and outdoor seasons. The highlight of the season, though, was an improbable third-place finish for freshman Kyle Landon in the high jump to become yet another Price-Smith First-Team All-American.
The 2013 season saw the opening and dedication of Saluki track and field's new facility, the Lew Hartzog Track and Field Complex and Connie Price-Smith Throws Area -- the first landmark on SIU's campus to be named after an African-American woman. Under her watch in 2013 the Salukis added two more All-Americans (J.C. Lambert and DeAnna Price), three second-team All-American honors (Kim Fortney x2, Bradley Sauer) and eight more MVC individual champions.
The Price-Smith led Salukis continued their MVC dominance in 2012, notching 16 more MVC Individual Championships, five All-Americans, an MVC Track and Field Most Valuable Player (Jeneva McCall, Indoor), an NCAA Runner-Up (J.C. Lambert, weight throw) and two more individual national championships across both the indoor and outdoor season.
The Saluki men took the Missouri Valley indoor conference title, claiming four event titles to edge out Indiana State. The championship was the first for the men in 20 years and was the fifth MVC team championship won under Price-Smith's tutelage.
Senior thrower Jeneva McCall brought the Salukis to national prominence with her two individual national championships in the weight throw and hammer throw. McCall recorded five MVC event championships in 2012 alone, which gave her 15 total titles during her career at Southern.
The 2011 season saw both the Saluki men's and women's squads take second place at the MVC Indoor and Outdoor Championships, winning a combined 23 individual conference titles between the two seasons. The teams also garnered a combined six All-American honors in 2011.
The 2011 indoor season was highlighted by senior Jeff Schirmer winning MVC Most Valuable Athlete honors for scoring the most points on the men's side at the MVC Championships, while junior Jeneva McCall was named Most Outstanding Field Athlete for the women. SIU sent five athletes to the NCAA Indoor Finals, where Salukis took home four All-American honors.
Schirmer followed up with another Most Valuable Athlete nod at the MVC Outdoor Championships, while McCall was again named Most Outstanding Field Athlete. Fourteen Salukis qualified for the NCAA Regionals with five advancing to the NCAA Outdoor Finals, earning five All-American honors.
Salukis earned three of the four available MVC Elite 18 honors for track and field in 2011 as Lucas Cherry (men's outdoor), Toni Whitfield (women's outdoor) and Emily Toennies (women's indoor) earned the award. Toennies was also awarded the MVC's prestigious Emerson Excellence Award.
In 2010, Price-Smith led SIU track and field to one of the best seasons in recent memory, with seven different athletes earning 12 NCAA All-American honors, McCall winning the national championship in the discus and the women's team finishing ninth at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. In addition, the women's team won the MVC Outdoor Championship for a second consecutive season as Price-Smith earned her fourth MVC Coach of the Year honor. McCall became the first Saluki in program history to earn All-America honors in five events in the same season.
The 2009 season saw the SIU women's team sweep the MVC Indoor and Outdoor titles with Price-Smith earning women's Coach of the Year honors for both seasons.
Between 2005 and 2008, the SIU women's team advanced athletes to both the NCAA Outdoor and Indoor Championships each season, finishing in the top 25 nationally four times. The 2007 and 2008 women's indoor team finished 19th and 17th in the nation, respectively, thanks to Southern's only female back-to-back national champion, Brittany Riley (weight throw). The 2008 outdoor team finished in a tie for 25th nationally, the program's best finish until the 2010 season.
In addition to her duties at SIU, Price-Smith has been involved in coaching at the international level for USA Track and Field since 2004. She served as an assistant coach for Team USA at the 2004 IAAF World Junior championships, the 2005 IAAF World Indoor Championships and the 2006 World Cup. Price-Smith served as Team USA's head coach at the 2007 Pan American Games before serving on her first Olympics coaching staff the following year as an assistant women's coach for throws at the 2008 Beijing Games. She most recently served as head women's coach for Team USA at the 2011 IAAF World Championships, assistant women's coach for throws at the 2012 London Olympics and the head women's coach at the 2013 World University Games in Russia -- where former Saluki Jeneva McCall became the first American woman to ever medal in the hammer throw with her gold medal victory.
Price-Smith began her coaching career as a volunteer assistant coach at Ohio State after retiring from a successful 15-year career as a world-class thrower. In addition to competing in the Olympics in 2000 (Sydney), 1996 (Atlanta), 1992 (Barcelona) and 1988 (Seoul), Price-Smith is a 25-time national champion in the shot put and discus.
All told, Price-Smith won 18 outdoor national titles, seven indoor titles -- including five Olympic trials championships -- during her post-collegiate career. Her world rankings in the shot put in 1995 (6th), 1996 (5th), 1997 (6th), 1998 (3rd), 1999 (7th) and 2000 (3rd) made her the first U.S. woman to be world-ranked in the shot put for six consecutive seasons.
|Price-Smith holding her 2010 MVC women's Coach of the Year award.|
|Price-Smith prepares for a shot put attempt.|
In 1992, Price-Smith became the first woman to win both the shot put and discus at an Olympic trial in 32 years. In 1995, she became the first U.S. woman in 35 years to win a World Championship medal in the shot put after winning the silver in the shot put -- still the highest finish by an American woman ever in the shot. Though Price-Smith never won an Olympic medal, her fifth-place finish in the shot put at the 1996 Atlanta Games is the highest finish by a U.S. woman in the event since 1960.
Ironically, Price-Smith only competed for the Saluki track and field team for one season after wrapping up a successful four-year basketball career at SIU. From 1980-84, Price-Smith was a center for the Salukis under coach Cindy Scott.
A two-time All-Gateway Conference selection, Price-Smith scored 1,271 points and pulled down 744 rebounds during her basketball career. She still ranks in the top 10 in school history in career scoring, rebounding, rebound average, field goal percentage, free throws made and free throws attempted. Most impressively, her school-record .650 field-goal percentage her junior season (1982-83) led the entire nation.
Price-Smith threw the shot put for the first time as a senior at the urging of former SIU track and field standout John Smith, whom she married in 1990 and now coaches alongside. She quickly became dominant in the shot put and discus, winning MVC indoor and outdoor titles in the shot put in 1985.
In addition to being inducted into the SIU Hall of Fame in 1990, Price-Smith also received the SIU Distinguished Alumni Award in 2001 and was named the Administrative/Professional Woman of Distinction in 2007. She was also selected for induction to the Missouri Valley Conference Hall of Fame in 2012 as an Institutional Great. Most recently in 2014, Price-Smith became the second Saluki to be inducted into the St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame.
Connie Price-Smith Track and Field Career Highlights
• Four-time Olympian (1988, 1992, 1996, 2000)
• Finished fifth in the shot put in 1996, four and one-half inches away from a bronze medal
• 1996 finish was the highest for an American in the shot since 1960 (Earlene Brown, third, Rome)
• Her fifth-place throw of 63-00.50 was the longest throw ever by an American in the Olympics
• Ended her career as one of only 14 female athletes and one of only 30 US athletes of either gender ever to compete in four Olympiads
• Five-time Olympic Trials champion (three shot put titles, two discus titles)
• Won every US shot put title from 1992-99
• Made every US team for 15 years from her first season in 1987
• In total, owns 18 USA outdoor national titles, seven indoor titles
• Ended career with more national titles in the throws than any woman in US history (25)
• Set the USATF National Outdoor meet record in the shot put (19.60m/64-03.75)
• In 1992, became the first woman to win both the shot put and discus at the Olympic Trials in 32 years (1960, Earlene Brown)
• No thrower has doubled at the Olympic trials since
• First woman to double (win both SP and DT) at national meet in 30 years; did so three times (1990, 1993, 1994)
• Best female doubler in US history, 15th-best ever in the world
• Still holds the USATF National Outdoor meet record in the shot put (19.60m/64-03.75)
• Only American woman to be world-ranked in six consecutive seasons
• Seven-time international medalist (Pan-American Games (4x), IAAF World Championships (1x), IAAF World Cup (1x), Goodwill Games (1x))
• 12-time IAAF World Championship qualifier
• 1995 silver medalist at the IAAF Indoor World Championships (shot put)
• 1995 WC medal was and is the highest medal for an American woman ever in the shot put; first since 1960 (Earlene Brown)
• Only American thrower to ever make seven Grand Prix Finals
• In the shot put, made 76 throws over 19 meters (62-05.00) and five over 64 feet
• In the discus, made 48 throws over 200 feet and nine over 210 feet
• Shot put personal best: 19.60m (64-03.75)
• Discus personal best: 64.82m (212-08)
Connie Price-Smith Basketball Career Highlights
• Was a member of the Saluki women's basketball team from 1980-84
• Her junior season (1982-83), she led the nation in field goal percentage at .650 -- an all-time SIU single-season record
• Ranked tied for sixth all-time in scoring (1,271)
• Fifth all-time in field goal percentage (.571)
• Seventh all-time in rebounding (744)
Connie Price-Smith Coaching Career Highlights
• Saluki Track and Field head coach from 2004 to present; Saluki Women's Track and Field coach from 2001-04
• Six-time MVC Coach of the Year (2005 & 2009 indoor, 2009 & 2010 outdoor, 2012 indoor, 2015 outdoor)
• Six MVC team championships (2005 & 2009 women's indoor, 2009 & 2010 women's outdoor, 2012 men's indoor, 2015 men's outdoor)
• Coached 51 All-Americans and eight NCAA national champions
• Coached 206 MVC champions and 19 MVC Most Valuable Athletes
Miscellaneous Awards and Honors
• St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame (2014)
• MVC Hall of Fame (2012)
• Drake Relays Hall of Fame (2003)
• Saluki Hall of Fame (1990)
• SIU Distinguished Alumni Award (2001)
• SIU Administrative/Professional Woman of Distinction (2007)
• In 2013, Lew Hartzog Track and Field Complex and Connie Price-Smith Throws Area were dedicated, the first facility on SIU's campus named after an African-American female
|MVC Indoor Finish||Men||Women|
|MVC Outdoor Finish||Men||Women|
CONNIE PRICE-SMITH THROWING CAREER HIGHLIGHTS
• 1988 (Seoul): 16th discus, 18th shot
• 1992 (Barcelona): 20th discus
• 1996 (Atlanta): 5th shot
• 2000 (Sydney): 16th shot
Five-time Olympic trials champion:
•1988 (Indianapolis): 1st discus, 3rd shot
• 1992 (New Orleans): 1st shot, 1st discus
• 1996 (Atlanta): 1st shot
• 2000 (Sacramento): 1st shot
IAAF Outdoor World Championships Finishes:
• 1987 (Rome): 12th, discus
• 1991 (Tokyo): 11th, shot
• 1995 (Gothenburg): 9th, shot
• 1997 (Athens): 5th, shot
• 1999 (Seville): 11th, shot
IAAF Indoor World Championships Finishes:
• 1989 (Budapest): 10th, shot
• 1991 (Seville): 9th, shot
• 1993 (Toronto): 9th, shot
• 1995 (Barcelona): 2nd, shot (silver medal)
• 1997 (Paris): 6th, shot
• 1999 (Maebashi): 4th, shot
• 2001 (Lisbon): 10th, shot
Four-time Pan American Games medalist:
• 1987 (Indianapolis): 3rd discus (bronze medal)
• 1991 (Havana): 2nd shot (silver medal)
• 1995 (Mar del Plata): 1st shot (gold medal)
• 1999 (Winnipeg): 1st shot (gold medal)
IAAF World Cup (now the IAAF Continental Cup) finishes:
• 1989 (Barcelona): 8th shot, 7th discus
• 1992 (Havana): 4th shot, 7th discus
• 1994 (London): 4th shot
• 1998 (Johannesburg): 3rd shot (bronze medal)
Goodwill Games finishes (discontinued in 2005):
• 1990 (Seattle): 7th shot, 8th discus
• 1994 (Saint Petersburg): 6th shot, 9th discus
• 1998 (New York City): 2nd shot (silver medal)
• 2001 (Brisbane): 8th shot
IAAF Grand Prix Finals (discontinued in 2002):
• 1991 (Barcelona): 8th shot
• 1992 (Turin): 8th discus
• 1993 (London): 7th shot
• 1994 (Paris): 8th discus
• 1995 (Monte Carlo): 6th shot
• 1997 (Fukoka): 5th shot
• 1999 (Munich): 3rd shot
• 2001 (Melbourne): 6th shot
World University Games finishes:
• 1987 (Zagreb): 4th discus, 7th shot