HOUGHTON, Mich. – Tom Smith has been named the head coach of the Michigan Tech men's and women's Nordic ski teams athletic director Dr. Suzanne Sanregret announced today. Smith brings 14 years of coaching and competition experience that will enable him to continue to build what is already a nationally competitive program.
"We are excited that Tom is joining our staff and excited for him to continue to build what is an already strong Nordic Ski program," Sanregret said. "He brings a wealth of experience with him to Michigan Tech as both a coach and student-athlete at the collegiate level. He understands our mission at Tech and is committed to developing our student-athletes both athletically and academically."
"I am incredibly thankful to Michigan Tech for this opportunity to lead the Nordic ski team," Smith said. "Every aspect of this coaching opportunity spoke to me. I want to foster a strong team dynamic and love for the sport that I believe will bring academic and athletic success for the student-athletes and continue to draw the brightest and best skiers to our team. I want to develop a lasting relationship between the program and the university community as whole in order to increase the visibility and engagement with the team throughout the Copper Country. It will help ensure the vitality of our program as a competitive, community, and cultural staple of Michigan Tech."
Smith, a native of Bend, Oregon, comes to Houghton after serving as the Head Coach of the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation in Ketchum, Idaho. Sun Valley provides year-round training and competitive opportunities for youth. Smith provided professional programming and support for competitive development, allowing his skiers to gain positions on collegiate ski teams, national development teams, elite teams, and national teams. Smith guided Sun Valley to a fourth place overall finish in the club standings.
"I believe we offer an incredibly valuable opportunity for the student-athletes and the entire community that encompasses the university," Smith added. "Tech has unparalleled Nordic training facilities along with an integrated network of resources and support throughout the entire athletic department and university. It's a well-rounded team of student-athletes that value a top-notch education as well as athletic opportunities that being part of the Nordic ski team provides. There is an extensive community of support for the program within the university, the local and regional community, and throughout the network of alumni that branches out domestically and globally."
Throughout his coaching career, Smith has coached an NCAA National Champion, numerous NCAA All-Americans, a Paralympian, and multiple Junior All-Americans. His team's have won junior titles and competed in World Junior and U23 World Championships. His skiers have also earned collegiate Nordic skiing scholarships at universities across the country. Smith owns USSA Level 100 and 200 Coaches Certification.
In addition to coaching at Sun Valley, Smith has served as the Head Domestic National Team Coach for Australia, the Birkebeiner Nordic Ski Club, Victorian Junior Cross-Country Ski Team, and the program instructor for the Australian Primary and Secondary Schools. He was also a student assistant coach with the University of Utah when the Utehs finished second at the 2013 NCAA Championships.
Smith was an outstanding student-athlete at the University of Utah where he helped guide the Utes to a pair of second-place NCAA Championship finishes in both 2011 and 2012. Smith began his collegiate career as a walk-on but eventually earned a scholarship after scoring in two straight NCAA Championships. Smith was named a Pac 12/Mountain West Scholar-Athlete all four years as a student-athlete.
Smith was a Gold Medalist in the freestyle sprint at the U.S. Junior Nationals in 2007 as well as being a six-time Junior All-American. He was also a prolific skier in high school, claiming the Oregon High School Nordic State Champion title three times. Smith comes from a skiing family with his brother, sister, and cousins all racing at the collegiate level.
Smith graduated from Utah in 2013 with a bachelor's degree in environmental and sustainability Studies and also a bachelor's degree in international studies. He will also serve as an assistant coach for the cross country program. Smith's partner Kristen Monahan, a Michigan Tech alumna and former nordic skiing/cross country student-athlete, will serve as an assistant coach.
"Kristin is a great addition to our Nordic and Cross Country programs as an assistant coach," Sanregret added. "As a former student-athlete at Michigan Tech, she understands the demands on our student-athletes both athletically and academically and brings extensive experience to support them. We are fortunate to be able to provide a female role model who has excelled in her experiences at Michigan Tech and in her professional career since graduating."
Smith replaces Joe Haggenmiller who coached the Huskies for 14 seasons. The Huskies sent five skiers to the NCAA Championships in 2017 and four in 2016.
Jake Isaacson will now lead the cross country program as head coach in addition to his role as the head coach of the Michigan Tech track and field programs.