Monday, February 18, 2019

Smoot retiring; SLU begins national search for successor

Posted: Tuesday, November 13, 2018 | Views: 586

Smoot retiring; SLU begins national search for successor
HAMMOND---Southeastern Louisiana head volleyball coach Jim Smoot announced his retirement Tuesday, wrapping up a collegiate coaching career that spans 39 years.

Smoot, who earned 400th career victory in 2016 while at the helm of the Southeastern program, recently completed his sixth season with the Lady Lions.

“Southeastern has been one of my favorite stops in a long coaching career,” Smoot said. “I’ve worked with some fantastic people here, but I believe it is time to move on to the next stage in my life. I want to thank everyone for their support of the Lady Lion volleyball program and I know it is poised for great things to come.”

Three times during a career that began in 1980 at Loyola Marymount, and included stops at Ohio State, Hawaii, LSU, Michigan, South Alabama, Westmont College, Tennessee Tech and Southeastern, Smoot coached his team to the Final Four.

“I want to thank Coach Smoot for the job he did here at Southeastern, not just for the volleyball program but for the University and our department,” Director of Athletics Jay Artigues said. “He had a stellar career, taking multiple teams to the Final Four, and I’m proud of what he did for this program.”

Artigues said a national search process to determine Smoot’s successor would begin immediately.

“We’re going to work quickly, but thoroughly, to find a coach that fulfills our mission for excellence in the classroom, in the community and in competition,” Artigues said.

Taking over the job the same week as the season opener in 2013, Smoot added much-needed stability to the program. During his tenure, Southeastern reached the double-digit wins plateau and qualified for the Southland Conference Tournament three times each.

In 2015, Southeastern (13-18) recorded its most wins since the 2004 season. That success came on the heels of an 8-8 Southland mark in 2014, the program's most conference victories in a dozen seasons.

Elyssa Purcell, who led the nation in triple-doubles in 2016, became the first Lady Lion to lead the nation in a statistical category since Sarah Gascon set the NCAA single-season record for digs in 2003.

Juniors Landry Bullock and Madi Odom earned All-Louisiana honors from the Louisiana Sports Writers Association for their efforts in leading the Lady Lions to new heights in 2015. Morgan Todd made her mark on the Southeastern record book in 2014, earning All-Southland (second team) honors.

Southeastern also made its academic efforts known throughout the conference as Bullock joined senior Mikayla Shippy on the Southland All-Academic squad in 2015. For Shippy, it was her second-consecutive appearance on the conference's academic team.

In 14 seasons at Westmont, Smoot took his team to the NAIA national tournament four times. Included in those four appearances is a 1999 trip to the NAIA Final Four.

Smoot's coaching experience before Westmont includes three years as the women's head coach at South Alabama (1994-96) where he earned the Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year honors in 1995. He has also served as an assistant with the women's programs at LSU and Michigan.

On the men's side, he served as head coach at Loyola Marymount (1980-81) and Ohio State (1982-84), as well as a stint as co-head coach at Hawaii (1985). In 1982 and 1983 his Ohio State teams advanced to the NCAA Final Four.

A native of Torrance, California, Smoot was the head coach for the men's East Team in the 1982 National Sports Festival and an assistant for the men's squad at the 1983 World University Games. He also coached in the Women's Professional Volleyball League.

Smoot’s collegiate playing career included stops at El Camino Junior College and Pepperdine, earning a Most Valuable Player award in 1973 and a bachelor's degree in Physical Education at the latter.

Fans interested in becoming active supporters of the Southeastern volleyball program are encouraged to join the Diggin’ It Club. Lion volleyball alums are encouraged to join the exclusive S Club, which is restricted to Southeastern athletic letter winners.

All membership fees and donations to both the Diggin’ It Club and S Club (volleyball) are available for the exclusive use of the Southeastern volleyball program. Membership information is available by contacting the Lion Athletics Association at or (985) 549-5091 or visiting

For more information on Lady Lions Volleyball, follow @SLU_VBall on Twitter, @Southeastern_vb on Instagram, like /SLUathletics on Facebook and subscribe to the SLUathletics YouTube channel.