Amy Smith has been named the head gymnastics coach at Utah State University, it was announced Monday by Vice President and Director of Athletics John Hartwell. Smith replaces Nadalie Walsh, who is the new gymnastics coach at Illinois.
“The combination of her experience and success, both as a student-athlete – winning a national championship at UCLA – and as a coach, whether it was at UCLA, Florida, Missouri or North Carolina, clearly in her progression as a coach, she is ready to take over a program of her own,” Hartwell said. “We have a proud and successful tradition within our gymnastics program at Utah State and with her addition, she can take us to new levels of success.”
Smith joins the Aggies after spending the past five seasons at North Carolina. She was promoted to associate head coach in 2014. In all, Smith brings 16 years of coaching experience with her to Utah State.
“It is such a great honor to become the Aggies’ fourth head coach in the history of the program,” Smith said. “Everyone in the athletics department was fantastic and I loved feeling everyone’s sense of Aggie pride throughout the interview process. I am so thrilled and grateful that Athletics Director John Hartwell and Deputy AD/SWA Jana Doggett have entrusted in me with this great opportunity and honor to lead the Aggie gymnastics team.
“Coach Walsh did a great job putting this team on the right track during her tenure and now it is time to take them to the next level. I was so inspired by the competitive drive of this team in the short amount of time that I spent with them and that made me incredibly excited about the future of this program. I cannot wait to get to Logan and get started.”
During her time at North Carolina, Smith played an instrumental role in developing some of the Tar Heels’ top all-arounders in recent memory. Elizabeth Durkac was named the 2013 East Atlantic Gymnastics League co-Gymnast of the Year and Haley Watts was tabbed the 2015 EAGL Senior of the Year.
Smith capped her time at UNC by being tabbed the 2017 EAGL Assistant Coach of the Year, while Morgan Lane and Khazia Hislop were tabbed the conference’s Gymnast of the Year and Rookie of the Year, respectively.
Prior to North Carolina, Smith spent the 2011-12 season on the coaching staff at UCLA, where she began her coaching career in 1998 as an undergraduate assistant coach under the guidance of head coach Valorie Kondos Field.
From 2003-06, Smith was a volunteer assistant coach at Florida, where she became an established choreographer, specializing in floor exercise. During her time with the Gators, Smith choreographed routines for six All-Americans.
Furthermore, Smith served as Kentucky’s choreographer from 2003-05.
Smith was an assistant coach at Missouri from 2007-11 and helped guide the Tigers to their first-ever NCAA Championship appearance in 2010. As the team choreographer and balance beam coach, she helped Sarah Shire earn a runner-up finish on floor at the 2010 NCAA Championships and the 2009 Big 12 beam title. Additionally, Adrianne Perry won two consecutive Big 12 floor titles in 2008 and 2009 under Smith’s tutelage.
Upon her return to UCLA, Smith helped coach the Bruins to a third consecutive top-three finish at the 2012 NCAA Championships.
A 2001 UCLA graduate, Smith was the team’s co-captain in 1996 and 1997, leading the Bruins to a runner-up finish in 1996 and their first NCAA Championship in 1997. She earned first-team All-America honors on floor exercise in 1995 and 1997 and on vault in 1997. She was also the 1997 Pac-10 floor exercise and West Region vault champion, as well as the 1996 West Region floor champion.
Smith inherits a Utah State team that is coming off its fourth consecutive trip to the NCAA Regional Championships, and a squad that took second place in the Mountain Rim Gymnastics Conference.
“Utah State is an exciting program on the rise,” Smith said. “Nadalie has done a great job getting the team back to regionals, but I think this team has just scratched the surface of what they are really capable of doing. Besides that, Logan is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. All of which makes this a very exciting place to be.
“I want to bring a higher level of competitiveness and consistency to the program. We will bring back a Mountain Rim Gymnastics Conference championship title to Logan, continue to qualify for regionals and eventually push for a national championship qualification.”