http://nextleveliowa.com/old/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/2018-12-14_10-35-23.png 810 1892 nextleveliowa http://nextleveliowa.com/old/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/logo-300x145.jpg nextleveliowa2018-12-14 10:39:292018-12-14 10:39:29Panthers Add New Sprints and Hurdles Coach
UNI track and field head coach Dave Paulson announced the addition of Diavonte Smith to the UNI coaching staff where he will coach sprints and hurdles.
Courtesy Panthers Athletics, click here! Feature photo: Diavonte Smith-UNI @Panthers Athletics 2018
“We are excited to welcome Diavonte and his family to the Cedar Falls,” head coach Dave Paulson said. “His commitment to the student-athletes both on and off the track fits our mission of developing well-rounded individuals and the environment he creates in practice will push our sprints and hurdles crew to a higher level.”
Smith comes to UNI after a year-long stint as a volunteer assistant at Texas Tech. The Red Raiders finished fifth in the 2018 Men’s NCAA Outdoor Championship and sixth in the 2018 Men’s NCAA Indoor Championship. He coached the 2018 NCAA 200m National Champion Divine Oduduru. He also mentored six NCAA Big 12 Champions and six NCAA West Regional Qualifiers.
Prior to his time at Texas Tech, he worked as a volunteer assistant for Central Michigan. He coached two athletes that earned All-Conference MAC honors and two school records were set under his tutelage.
Prior to his time as a coach at Central Michigan, he was a two-time All-MAC performer for the Chippewas. He qualified for the 2013 NCAA East Regional in the long jump.
“His experience as a student-athlete at Central Michigan and his time at Texas Tech will be big for our athletes,” Paulson said. “He knows they operate at the highest level and how to create a really competitive environment at practice and push our sprinters and hurdlers to the next level.”
Smith is joined in Cedar Falls by his wife and two children. It was important for Smith in his transition to find a place that his family would feel welcome.
“UNI reminds me a lot of Central Michigan,” Smith said. “Cedar Falls has a comfortable feel to it which is exciting for our family. I love the smaller school. It is a great opportunity to help UNI get to the next level and that was really appealing to me.”
In his short time on campus, he has already seen the potential for great things from the sprinters and hurdlers on the roster.
“We have a really hungry group of athletes,” Smith said. “They know where they are at, and they know where they want to get. I am excited to help them reach their goals and get on the podium, starting at conference and advancing to the regionals and the NCAA Championship.”
The Panthers are off for winter break but resume the indoor season on Jan. 12, at the Iowa Invite in Iowa City.