Arizona Western College’s storied history has been sprinkled with crowning achievements, but there has not been a more successful stretch than the sixteen 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.