Nov. 5, 2009
NEW ORLEANS - Tulane director of cross country and track & field Eric Peterson finalized his coaching staff on Wednesday, announcing 2008 Olympian and former University of Tennessee javelin great Leigh Smith as throws coach.
Smith, who lettered at Tennessee from 2001-04, was hired along with Hasani Roseby as sprint coach and Justin Johnson as multi/jumps coach. All three were standouts in collegiate track & field, as each earned top 10 status in the U.S. Track & Field rankings in their respective events during their careers and boasts experience at the USATF National Championship level.
"I'm really excited to have found three coaches that have the level of competitive expertise and experience that these three former - and in Leigh's case, current - athletes have," Peterson said. "All three have national level competitive experience, and that's a significant aspect as to why they were selected as young enthusiastic coaches for our program.
"Leigh Smith, as a three-time SEC champion (2001, '03, '04) and Olympian (2008) brings a lot of technical expertise to our program," commented Peterson. "He's highly intelligent, an energetic coach and a really good teacher of technique, as all three of these coaches are."
Smith won the javelin event three times at the SEC outdoor championships while at Tennessee, and earned three All-America honors for the Volunteers. As a freshman in 2001, Smith helped Tennessee to the men's national championship. As a senior in 2004, he shattered Tennessee school and the SEC Championship javelin records en route to his third individual SEC championship honor. He was also an SEC Academic Honor Roll member, as he earned a degree in wildlife biology with a minor in forestry.
In 2008, Smith represented the United States at the Summer Olympics in Beijing, where he placed 18th in the qualifying round of the javelin competition. He earned his spot by posting the best distance by an American in 2008, which ranked 13th in the world prior to the Olympic Games.
A native of Raleigh, N.C., Smith prepared for the Olympics while living in Destrehan, La., working out at Tad Gormley Stadium in New Orleans.