Je’Kel Smith named head track and field and cross-country coach at Avila University

For Je’Kel Smith, being the leader of a sports team has been a goal for close to a decade now. After years of preparation as an assistant track and field and cross-country coach at Alcorn State University and Avila University in Kansas City, Missouri, Smith has finally reached his goal of being at the helm of a sports program.

“I’ve been around some great head coaches during my time as an assistant coach,” said Smith. “When the opportunity arose, I was ready.”

Smith was announced as head coach of the Avila University Eagles track and field and cross-country team Thursday, July 14. He previously served as the teams’ graduate assistant coach since 2015. Smith, who graduated from Alcorn in 2010, served as a volunteer assistant at his alma mater for three seasons, working mainly with the cross-country teams as well as the jumpers and distance runners on the track teams.

Smith looks forward to being the head man in charge.

“It feels great to finally get a chance to oversee my own team,” said Smith. “I’ve been eyeing this opportunity for a few years and the time has come for me to really showcase my coaching skills.”

With the potential of the next recruiting class and his current runners, Smith anticipates leading his team to the top of the Heart of America Athletic Conference.

“I truly believe with the recruiting class that’s coming in this year, we have a shot at winning our conference. In a year or two, we should be ready to contend for a national title.”

Smith said that he’s looking forward to competing with the top contenders of the conference.

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