Connie Price-Smith leads Homecoming festivities as Grand Marshal

    Connie Price-Smith was named Grand Marshall for Southern Illinois' 2012 Homecoming festivities.

    Connie Price-Smith was named Grand Marshall for Southern Illinois' 2012 Homecoming festivities.

    Oct. 13, 2012

    CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Connie Price-Smith, head coach of Southern Illinois' track and field program, lead the Homecoming festivities as Grand Marshal today for the football team's win against Northern Iowa. She rode in the annual parade and was recognized during the football game versus Northern Iowa.

    Price-Smith -- one of Southern's most storied athletes -- is a four-time Olympic thrower, a four-time MVC Coach of the Year, and is in both the SIU and MVC Halls of Fame.

    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. 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.

    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. She ranks sixth in SIU history in the discus, ninth in the outdoor shot put and ninth in the indoor shot put.

    All told, Price-Smith won 18 outdoor national titles, six indoor titles and five Olympic trials championship titles during her post-collegiate career. Her world rankings in the shot put in 1995 (6th), 1996 (5th), 1997 (6th), 1998 (3rd) and 1999 (7th) made her the first U.S. woman to be world-ranked in the shot put for five consecutive seasons.



    Price-Smith began her coaching career as a volunteer assistant coach at Ohio State after retiring from a successful 14-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.

    In addition to her coaching 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 also was selected as head women's coach for Team USA at the 2011 IAAF World Championships and the once again as the assistant women's coach for throws at the 2012 London Olympics.

    At Southern, Price-Smith has coached four women's MVC Championship teams and one men's team, 148 MVC individual champions, 51 All-Americans, 14 MVC Most Valuable Players, and five national champions.