Jerry Smith

Jerry Smith

Athletic Director
(928) 344-7535

Arizona Western College’s storied history has been sprinkled with crowning achievements, but there has not been a more successful stretch than the fifteen complete seasons under the leadership of Athletic Director Jerry Smith.

Smith’s impact has been particularly felt by Matador Athletics but he has also been a leader in the Arizona Community College Athletic Conference as well as the National Junior College Athletic Association while in Yuma.

Since Smith moved to Yuma in 2005, the Matadors have won over 2,000 games with a winning percentage of .722 across seven sports. His longevity has led to stability as across all programs with the current seven head coaches logging a combined 67 seasons at AWC. That has included over 20 Region Championships, eleven trips to NJCAA Championship Tournaments, and three NJCAA National Championship Appearances.

A constant champion of both athletic and academic success of student-athletes, the Matadors have consistently seen multiple teams every year garner NJCAA All-Academic recognition with over 250 individual student-athletes earning individual Academic Recognition from the NJCAA at AWC.

To support that success, Smith has been pivotal in the Yuma Community while increasing the success and service of the Matador Athletic Association, helping to provide scholarships to student-athletes while connecting them to the community at large.

While the Matadors success has long made them a force in the ACCAC, Smith has also helped to lead the conference having served for two years as the president of the Arizona Community College Athletic Conference as well as the Western States Football League. He continues to serve as Region I's Director of Women's Athletics, having held the position over eight years..

Not only has Smith been a guiding force at the helm of Matador Athletics and ACCAC, but he has long been a pillar in the NJCAA having spent over four decades serving as a coach and administrator. In 2019, the NJCAA recognized Smith’s service with the Mary Ellen Leicht Award for his years of excellence. He currently serves on the NJCAA Board of Directors.

Prior to AWC, Smith’s time in the NJCAA was primarily spent Eastern Oklahoma State College near his native Red Oak, Oklahoma. He spent nine seasons as the head basketball coach while also serving as Athletic Director at EOSC before taking on the school’s Alumni Association as a Director and then becoming the Vice President of Student Services and Director of Development.

Tim Slack

Tim Slack

SID/Associate Athletic Director
(928) 317-7616

Just two months into Tim Slack's tenure, the Matadors saw their second team of the athletic season punch their ticket to an NJCAA Tournament. And it happened again just two months later as Arizona Western saw three teams appear in the NJCAA National Tournament, punctuating every sports season at the National Level.

Telling the stories of each of those teams via livestream, AWC TV (where he is the Voice of the Matadors on all televised sporting events), in print and online, are just a glimpse of Tim's primary function within Matador Athletics. His goal is to connect the journeys and stories of AWC's student athletes to the local community in Yuma, the college at large, and all those supporting AWC Athletics.

With a decade of professional sports experience, his professional career has spanned the country from California to Kansas to North Carolina and spanned sports industries on every medium from Television to Radio to Internet. A two-time recipient of the Ric Buhler Award for Radio Excellence as well as a pair of Broadcaster of the Year Awards in Professional Baseball, he has covered professional and student athletes alike, across Baseball, Basketball, Football, Soccer, Softball and Volleyball. At AWC, Tim is the primary contact for the Athletic Department as well as the Matador Athletic Association. Tim works on creative storytelling and communication for the Matadors and tells the stories of the student athletes through as well as the social media platforms (@AWCMatadors) on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

In addition to his responsibilities as Sports Information Director, Tim's role as Associate Athletic Director helps him integrate Matador Athletics into the community by building relationships with local businesses and community members to contribute to the Matador Athletic Assocation.

Cindy Evans

Cindy Evans

Athletic Secretary
(928) 344-7536

Of all the constants at Arizona Western College, Cindy Evans role in the Athletic Department as the longest serving Matador has been invaluable. Over twenty years with the Athletic Department, and over 30 at AWC, Cindy has been instrumental behind-the-scenes helping to organize 13 different NJCAA National Tournament Appearances. But her impact reaches far beyond the premier events, serving as the primary point of contact for Matador Coaches in the day-to-day aspects of AWC. She facilitates MAA Meetings and the annual MAA Golf Tournament with coordination and execution in addition to a crucial role in all Matador Gameday efforts.

While her time in Matador Athletics has seen Cindy work for four different athletic directors, she has been a consistent fixture in helping to promote the Matador Brand and operations. Evans started at the AWC Bookstore in the old AWC Student Union when she first became a campus employee in 1981. Evans moved to the school’s Registration Office after that before taking over as Athletic Secretary in 1997. 

Evans is married to Brent, who retired after a long, successful career as middle school teacher at Castle Dome Middle School, and dotes on her two daughters, Megan and Jennifer, and her five granddaughters.

Chris Black

Chris Black

Athletic Trainer

Chris Black enters his first year as a Certified Athletic Trainer with Matador Athletics this spring. With a certifications in multiple therapies and movement screens, Chris brings an expertise that is practical to the daily lives of Matador student-athletes to help with both injury prevention and recovery.

Chris spent the 2019 season with Major League Soccer's Real Salt Lake after graduating from the University of Idaho with a Master's of Athletic Training.

While obtaining his Master's, Chris was competiting for the Vandals as a Cross Country student-athlete. Chris had two first place finishes in the 800m and one in the 4x100, proving his ability to apply theory to performance and brings a handful of motion based certifications and experiences to help Matador Athletes find the same success.

Chris is a native of Portland, Oregon and lettered in four sports as prep athlete.

Alyssa Vaniman MS, ATC

Alyssa Vaniman MS, ATC

Certified Athletic Trainer

Alyssa Vaniman is the newest addition to the Matador Athletics family as a Certified Athletic Trainer bringing a background in NCAA Athletics to Yuma. Alyssa’s drive to care for student-athlete’s well being along with her ability to understand Matador student-athletes stems from her time as a junior college student and continues with her advancement in education.

As a Certified Athletic Trainer on campus, Alyssa works cooperatively with other medical professionals in the community to ensure the athletes at AWC are safe and healthy. Also, she provides services that include primary care, prevention of illness and injury, emergency care, examination and diagnosis of athletic injury, and wellness promotion.

Prior to coming to Arizona Western, Alyssa spent three years as a trainer at Cal State Los Angeles. Alyssa vast background in education includes her Associates Degree in Kinesiology from Citrus College, a bachelor’s degree in Athletic Training from Northern Michigan University, her master’s degree in Kinesiology with a concentration in Exercise Science from California State University, Los Angeles. She is currently pursing her Doctorate in Athletic Training at Indiana State University. 

Alyssa has been certified since 2018. She is also a Co-Founder of Latinx Athletic Trainers which mission is to educate on cultural competency and promote diversity and inclusion within the profession of athletic training.

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