Greg Smith brought with him a formula for success when he was handed the reins of the University of Toledo women’s volleyball program on May 11, 2009.
Now, Smith has seen his blueprint result in three of the top seasons in the Rocket volleyball program’s 34-year history during his brief tenure.
Smith guided Toledo to a share of its first Mid-American Conference West Division title ever in 2013, posting a 19-12 overall record and a school-record 12-4 ledger in league play.
As part of their championship season, the Rockets posted their first unbeaten MAC home record and finished in a first-place tie with Ball State in the West Division.
Seniors Dakota Harkins, Adria Pryor and Lauren Rafdal received first-team All-MAC honors, while junior Brooke Frazer and freshman Ellen Hays were members of the All-MAC second-team and All-MAC Freshman Team, respectively.
In addition, Rafdal became the first Rocket ever to be named to the AVCA’s Honorable Mention All-American and All-Region squads.
UT followed up a 17-12 win-loss mark in Smith’s debut season in 2009 with an appearance in the 2010 Mid-American Conference Tournament semifinals.
In Smith’s first season at the Rocket helm, he guided UT to its fourth-best record in school history with a 17-12 win-loss mark in 2009. That season saw Toledo tie for second place in the MAC’s West Division and sophomore OH Amber DeWeerdt earn a spot on the second-team all-conference campaign.
The 2010 campaign was highlighted by a 3-2 upset win over No. 12 Michigan in the season-opening Rocket Classic. UT also knocked off four more teams — No. 32 Creighton, No. 49 Western Michigan, No. 50 Ball State and No. 57 Northern Illinois — that appeared in the Top 60 of the final NCAA RPI rankings.
The Rockets ended their season on a high note by sweeping regular-season champion Ball State in the MAC quarterfinals to advance to the semifinals for the fourth time in school history.
Smith’s guidance also has resulted in an excellent performance in the classroom. As a program, the Rockets have earned the American Volleyball Coaches Association’s Team Academic Award for 14 straight years as a result of registering a 3.30 grade-point average or higher.
Prior to coming to Toledo, Smith served as the top assistant and recruiting coordinator at Notre Dame for three years (2006-09), helping the Fighting Irish post a 50-41 overall record and a 28-14 Big East mark.
A Rochester, IN native, Smith coached 10 all-conference honorees in South Bend in addition to 2007 AVCA Northeast Region Freshman of the Year Kellie Sciacca. He also helped the Fighting Irish to an NCAA Tournament appearance in 2006, which is one of six trips he has made to post-season play in his coaching career.
Smith received his first taste of being a head coach during a six-year tenure (2000-05) at Virginia Tech. He registered an 81-94 (.463) win-loss ledger with a 37-38 (.493) conference mark, and he was honored as the 2002 Big East Conference Coach of the Year.
The 2002 campaign saw the Hokies post an amazing turnaround with a second-place league finish. Virginia Tech posted a 20-11 record after registering a 9-19 ledger the previous season to earn a berth in the four-team league tournament with a 10-3 conference mark. That team more than doubled its overall win total and won twice as many conference matches than it did during the 2001 season.
During his time at Virginia Tech, Smith helped five different players earn a total of nine all-conference honors. He also oversaw the Hokies’ transition from an independent to the Big East Conference in 2001 and then into the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2004.
Smith headed to Virginia Tech’s Blacksburg campus following three years at Ohio State, where he helped coach the Buckeyes to a trio of NCAA Tournament bids. While with the Scarlet and Gray, he assisted in recruiting and training the team both on-court and in physical conditioning.
Smith mentored a pair of Buckeye standouts in Jen Flynn and Katie Virtue. Flynn was a first-team All-Big Ten choice and a member of the USPV “Dream Team” in 2000. She joined the U.S. National Team in 2002 as its starting setter, while leading the squad to a silver medal at the 2002 World Championships. Virtue, Ohio State’s all-time assists leader and the 1999 Big Ten Freshman of the Year, was also a member of the U.S. National Team with Flynn.
Prior to his stint in Columbus, Smith spent two seasons as an assistant at Hofstra University where he helped lead the team to back-to-back America East Conference Tournament championships and NCAA Tournament appearances. Before his time at Hofstra, he was an assistant at the University of Indianapolis in 1994 where he received a bachelor’s degree in secondary education.
Smith graduated from Westmont College (CA) in 1990 with a bachelor’s degree in business and economics. A letterwinner in tennis for the Warriors, he also served as an assistant coach at his alma mater.
Smith and his wife Erica have two daughters, Peytan (13) and Reagan (10), and one son, Logan (7).