Barb Smith Biography
Coach Barb Smith is a leader in collegiate coaching. For the past 25 years, she has been successful in numerous roles as a head, associate head and assistant coach at numerous prominent universities; Iona College, University of Colorado, San Diego State University, University of California - Berkeley and University of Minnesota. Throughout these positions, she has focused on teaching leadership, mentorship and giving back to the community, while coaching and performing motivational speaking. Barb is a team builder. She can bridge gaps and bring team members together.
Coach Smith has a passion for sport and leadership, which has been evident since high school. As a standout student-athlete (volleyball, basketball, softball and track) and Hall of Famer at Perrysburg High School in Perrysburg, OH, she decided to play basketball in college. But rather than play at a smaller school for basketball or larger school for volleyball, she chose The Ohio State University for college hoping to play for Hall of Fame Coach Tara VanDerveer. She pushed herself and prepared with countless hours of practice to walk onto the team. As a point guard, her hard work and dedication impressed Coach VanDerveer and staff enough to achieve that goal, and by the end of her sophomore year, she earned a scholarship and a starting role for the Buckeyes as the smallest Big 10 player. Coach Smith now holds four Big 10 Championship rings.
Coach Smith’s taste for success and excellence continued as she attended Iona College, New York coaching with then Head Coach Dr. Rose Marie Battaglia and garnering a M.B.A. with an Organizational Behavior emphasis. Coach Smith’s focus is people, relationships, and how each person can be motivated through group activities. The skills and knowledge of the M.B.A. program fine tuned her innate sense of what people need to feel successful to help them reach their goals.
After receiving her M.B.A., Coach Smith took an assistant coaching position with Hall of Fame Coach Ceal Barry at the University of Colorado. Many accolades, championships, firsts and records came with the collective group of universities Barb has worked at, including conference titles, conference tournament championships, multiple Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight appearances, sell-out crowds, top recruiting classes, top academic standings and record breaking attendance figures.
Throughout it all, Coach Smith has learned that coaching and leadership is more than just the winning and losing. It’s about the people. It’s about bringing people together to achieve a common goal. It’s about the relationships built with the people involved. Barb knows how to win with total team engagement.
In 2011, Coach Smith took a “sabbatical” to take a deeper look into the coaching of women's basketball. She visited close to 60 different athletic programs and practices of all levels of basketball. As her efforts continued throughout the year, her initial goal was adjusted to men's and women's basketball at all levels. Then, as her research was being built, she decided to add other sports to see if the information collected crossed over into other sports as well. She then personally interviewed hundreds of people; coaches, managers, business people, educators, religious leaders, health professionals, psychologists, former athletes, and lawyers to get their perspective on the status of sport. As a result of the research, Coach Smith is writing two books. The first book, to be released in August 2012, details what a championship practice entails and the elements necessary to have a championship team. The second, to be released in 2013, describes her body of research of sport; what is broken and how to fix it. She believes the concepts described in both books can be applied to create a successful business.
As Coach Smith describes, “The experience of the past year has been a phenomenal journey. It has given me the opportunity to meet and talk with many wonderful people, both in the coaching world and in many other professions. It has allowed me to take a very in depth look at coaching, managing, mentoring, leadership and the minds of people that lead. It has also forced me to look at every aspect of my own coaching and mentorship methods. I loved every minute of it and appreciate all those people that took the time to share with me.”