From staff reports
Cumberland director of athletics Ron Pavan announced the hiring of Kyle Smith as the head coach for men’s soccer on Thursday.
Smith replaces Jeff Loucks, who stepped down nearly a month ago after six seasons at his alma mater.
“This is a very good hire for our University and our soccer program, getting someone from a Division I program who has a great deal of experience both as a player and coach,” Pavan said. “Kyle brings great knowledge of the level of play at the NAIA level and what it takes to compete both athletically and academically.”
Smith previously served two seasons as a full-time men’s assistant coach at NCAA Division I Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, helping the Bulldogs to a 17-19-5 mark in the ultra-competitive Missouri Valley Conference. Drake posted an 11-8-1 record in 2011 and 6-11-4 this past season, earning a berth in the semifinals of the State Farm MVC Championships both seasons.
A total of 11 players garnered All-Missouri Valley accolades over the two seasons, including Matt Kuhn, who was selected by DC United in the MLS Supplemental Draft in 2011. In addition, two student-athletes were named MVC Scholar-Athletes and Nick Marshall earned First Team Capital One Academic All-District honors in 2012.
His responsibilities with the Bulldogs included creating and implementing daily training sessions and player evaluations, serving as the recruiting coordinator and freshman academic advisor, handling all NCAA administrative duties, coordinating the Bulldog Soccer Academy and facilitating all community outreach clinics.
“This is a great opportunity and I’m excited to be part of the Cumberland family,” Smith said. “I can’t thank Ron and [assistant athletic director] Mitch [Walters] enough for the chance to be at Cumberland. Hard work and honesty will be a driving force for our team and competing at the conference and national level is also a top priority.”
Smith attended high school at University School of Jackson in Jackson, playing for coach Chris Leonardi and captaining the Bruins to two straight district and region championships. He was also a member of the Jackson Soccer Club, with his team winning a club state championship and finishing as runner-up as well.
His collegiate playing career began at the University of Charleston in West Virginia before transferring to Lambuth University for his final two seasons in 2005 and 2006. He earned his bachelor’s in health and human performance from Lambuth in 2009 and a master’s in teaching with emphasis in exercise science from Hastings College in 2011.
Smith started his coaching career at his alma mater, serving two seasons with the Eagles and helping the program to back-to-back TranSouth Conference titles and the club's initial NAIA national tournament berth and national ranking. He served as the head recruiting coordinator and player evaluator at Lambuth and oversaw technical training as well as the strength and conditioning program for the club.
He then worked two years as an assistant women’s coach at Hastings College in Hastings, Neb., with the Broncos winning the Great Plains Athletic Conference regular season and tournament titles en route to a national NAIA runner-up finish in 2010. The club posted 12 shutouts and eight players were named first and second team all-conference with two NAIA Scholar-Athletes that season.
Hastings also recorded 12 shutouts in 2009 with five all-conference honorees and three NAIA Scholar-Athletes. During Smith's tenure the squad achieved its first-ever national ranking. His responsibilities at Hastings included running and developing training sessions, facilities coordination and pregame warm-up. He was also involved with program recruiting, player evaluation and assessment, assisted in fundraising and community service events and organized alumni activities and contacts.
Smith holds a USSF 'B' license and a National Youth license and boasts coaching experience at Regional/State ODP, club and high school levels. During his time at Drake he served as the boys and girls technical director for the U-12-14 team with the West Des Moines Soccer Club.
He has been a member of the US Youth Soccer ODP Region II staff in Kansas City the last two years, assisting Ian Barker, NSCAA director of coaching education and Western Illinois men’s soccer head coach Eric Johnson. Smith has also served as the head coach of the Iowa ODP 1997 club for the last year.
He was the head coach of the 1996 and 1997 boys and assistant for the 1994 girls in the Nebraska ODP from May 2009-May 2011 and served as a player evaluator and administered training sessions for the 1996 Tennessee ODP club. He was head coach for the U16 boys and U13 girls in the Jackson Wolves Soccer Club in Jackson, from 2003-09 and was responsible for ongoing player development in the form of technical clinics, skill, speed, fitness and agility training.
At the high school level Smith was an assistant boys coach at Hastings High School for the 2010 and 2011 seasons. HHS finished as the state runner-up in 2010, posting a 14-6-0 mark and winning a conference championship as well as posting the school’s first-ever wins in state competition. The squad won the conference title again in 2011 with a 12-8-0 record, earning a berth into the state championship again.
Smith served six years as an assistant boys and girls coach for the high school team at USJ and head boys and girls coach for the middle school program. The program earned four Final Four appearances, seven state tournament appearances, 10 region titles and 10 district titles between the two programs.
Smith is engaged to Stacey Klich and the two will be married on Aug. 3 this year.