Connie Price-Smith at the MVC Hall of Fame Banquet Friday morning.
March 2, 2012
By Bill Ford
CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois track and field coach Connie Price-Smith was inducted into the Missouri Valley Conference Hall of Fame Friday Morning in St. Louis.
Price-Smith becomes SIU's sixth representative in the MVC Hall of Fame, joining a 2012 class that includes Missouri State's Charlie Spoonhour, Louisville's Denny Crum, Northern Iowa's Joey Woody, Creighton's Paul Silas and Evansville's Fred Schmalz.
"I am truly honored to be selected for such a wonderful award. To be selected among such an illustrious group of individuals is such a privilege," Price-Smith said. "I am very grateful to the selection committee and I would like to congratulate all the other inductees."
A four-time Olympian and one of the most decorated athletes Saluki track and field has produced, Price-Smith enters her 11th season as head coach at her alma mater. 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.
Under Price-Smith, a 1990 SIU Hall of Fame inductee, the Saluki 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. Last week, Price-Smith led the SIU men's team to its first MVC Indoor Title since 1992, earning her fifth MVC Coach of the Year honor.
Price-Smith has coached SIU athletes to a combined 38 All-America honors and three individual national titles. Also, SIU athletes have won a combined 136 MVC individual titles under her tutelage.
Price-Smith's affiliation with SIU began as a student-athlete on the women's basketball team from 1980-84. 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.
She went on to compete on 34 international squads, reaching some of the highest levels ever achieved by an American woman. Her fifth-place finish in the shot put at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics is the best finish by a woman from Team USA since 1960.
Price-Smith has also been involved in coaching for Team USA at the international level since 2004. She recently served as the head coach for the American women's track and field team at the 2011 IAAF World Championships and she is slated to join her second Olympic coaching staff this summer in London as the head throws coach for the Team USA Women.
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.