HUNTINGDON, PA- Longtime Juniata College strength and conditioning coach Doug Smith has been selected to receive the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) Coach of the Year Award. He received the recognition at the annual Coaches Conference in Louisville, KY.
The prestigious award represents all levels of the NCAA in Divisions I, II, III, and NAIA. Smith has been a member of the organization since 1991. “Its an honor for me being associated with the NSCA which is one of the most legitimate organizations out there in the profession,” he said.
Smith has been the head Strength and Conditioning Coach at Juniata since 1997. He is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Brumbaugh Strength and Fitness Center and works with teams and individuals who have specifically designed workout sessions. Smith is certified with the NSCA and the National Academy of Sports Medicine and also has his certificate from the USA Weightlifting Federation of Coaching. Smith has organized and been the director of the Pennsylvania State Strength and Conditioning Clinic and has served as a spring training consultant to Major League Baseball’s Texas Rangers.
As for what he implements with his athletes, Smith says that his teaching techniques are no different that what other strength and conditioning programs do. “We organize our programs according to our athletes, our equipment, the number of athletes, and where they are in a season,” he said. His one point of emphasis was on teaching correct mechanics and technique. “We work really hard with our kids. Our kids spend as much time learning to spot and critique what their teammates are doing.”
“With football and all of the other teams, what we tell them is that one of the biggest things in how we can help the athlete is not just performance enhancement but helping the coaching staff and allowing them to coach a better athlete,“ Smith noted. “The ability to do things correctly, be coachable, be a team player and leader is what we want to send these kids on the practice fields with. It doesn’t matter what we do if it doesn’t carry over to the practice field.”
“Doug is special and incredibly deserving of this award,” said athletic director Greg Curley. “He has done as much for Juniata athletics and our athletic programs as anybody that has been at Juniata. He is a real treasure and a guy that has made a huge difference in a lot of lives and a lot of programs. Doug is a tremendous asset for our department and our college and we are glad to have him.”
Head football coach Tim Launtz had nothing but praise for Smith. “Its so gratifying to see Doug get the recognition nationally,” said Launtz. “All of us around here have known for years that Doug is the best. Doug probably spends more time with the athletes than the coaches do. Through Doug’s leadership, we have seen a significant decrease in injuries. The success of the Juniata football program is directly related to what Coach Smith does with our athletes through his program.”
“Doug is so deserving of this award,” said head women’s volleyball head coach Heather Pavlik. “We know how lucky we are to have him here. It is a luxury most schools our size couldn’t even dream of to have someone this good. We make the statement to every recruit who comes in here that the biggest difference between a freshman and a sophomore at Juniata with volleyball is strength. It’s the fact that their bodies are more prepared to play at a really high level because of Doug.”
Senior women’s volleyball player Brittani Young echoed Pavlik’s sentiment. “He's meant more to our team than I even know how to express,” she said. “He has been a big part of what makes Juniata Women's Volleyball what it is, not only during the four years that I have been part of the program, but for all the previous athletes who have struggled through his workouts and for all the future athletes who find themselves playing in Memorial Gymnasium. A lot of the work and dedication that takes place behind the scenes in sports goes unnoticed too often, and the amount of passion, commitment, and attention he willingly puts in day in and day out speaks volumes and substantially translates into our play. On a more personal note, Coach Smith has tested my limits on countless occasions and I can't thank him enough because it made performing at the collegiate level so much easier. I got a lot stronger, became more explosive, and was able to do my job on the court to the best of my ability because of it. Coach Smith is one of those people that you never want to let down, who you never want to give up in front of, the kind of person that makes you want to become a better you. It's so easy to see just how much he cares and loves what he does, I think that's what makes him so successful as a strength and conditioning coach.”
Fellow teammate and senior Amelia Kepler said, “Coach Smith has greatly impacted my performance level over the past four years. Working with him in our off-season got me to a level of fitness I did not know was possible. My game was able to evolve because of all the time and effort he put in with our team. Without him our team would not be able to reach our goals or learn how much each individual can achieve. The combination of mental and physical toughness that he instills upon us is remarkable and irreplaceable. I cannot thank him enough for everything he has done for me individually and the rest of team.”
“Without Coach Smith, the football program wouldn’t be the same,” remarked senior quarterback Ward Udinski. “He has affected everyone who has come through Juniata. In terms of the football team, he’s pushed me since I got here. Everybody knows how knowledgeable he is about strength and conditioning and to have him here pushing us every day it means a lot to us.”
Smith made sure to thank those who have helped him along the way. “I would like to sincerely thank Larry Bock, our previous athletic director for bringing me in to the Juniata College athletic program and also thank the current athletic director, Greg Curley, for all the help he has given me in the past two years since he took over command of the athletic department at Juniata College. Finally, I would like to send a special thanks to Todd Sechrist and Sarah Simeone for all the hard work and dedication they have given to our program and for helping me with the many teams and numerous athletes on campus.”