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Chip Smith Formally Anounced at WCU Athletics Director

Aug. 27, 2004

Cullowhee, N.C. - This past Monday, Western Carolina University chancellor Dr. John Bardo announced the appointment of Chip Smith as Director of Athletics. Smith comes to Western Carolina after serving as athletics director at Morehead State University. Today, Chip Smith was formally introduced to the Catamount community and media in a press conference, held at the Ramsey Center.


"When we started this search (for an athletics director), it became very clear the University is in a different place than the last time we hired an athletics director. The campus has grown a lot, we have made major changes in the quality of campus in terms of students and facilities and we have made quality changes in the athletics department.

"This university is about winning the right way and making sure the needs of our student-athletes are met. We want every student-athlete to have the opportunity to graduate. We want every student-athlete to be prepared for life after college. We also want every student-athlete to have the opportunity to be a good citizen by being a part of a team that cares about them and willing to give back to the community. We want every student-athlete to win the right way.

"During his interview, Chip Smith was able to explain without prompting what Western Carolina athletics is all about. After that, it was clear he was the right person for this job."

Dr. John W. Bardo
Western Carolina University

"It is good to be back in North Carolina and it is great to be at Western Carolina. There are very few places I would have left Morehead State for and this (Western Carolina) is one of them. This is a special place.

"This is a tremendous place and the growing campus is a hub of activity. Everyone I talked with during the interview process was excited about Western's direction. Also, all the people (outside of the University) I called to check on what they felt about the schools had great things to say about Western as well. After talking with Dr. (John) Bardo, it was clear where their enthusiasm comes from.

"I tell people all the time, `I have and easy job.' There are a lot of good people here and I just have to be a catalyst. I like being at a school like Western and I love being an athletic director. I get to meet and know student-athletes from the time they are being recruited until they walk across the stage and graduate."

Chip Smith
Director of Athletics
Western Carolina University


"Chip and his family will be great additions to the Western Carolina University community. He has a clear understanding of the role of intercollegiate athletics on a college campus and will work to advance not only the athletics mission, but the greater mission of the university. As a former student-athlete, he understands what is needed by coaches and student-athletes to succeed."

Jeff Long
Director of Athletics
University of Pittsburgh

"I think that the leadership team at Western Carolina University has made an outstanding decision in hiring Chip Smith. He is very special to me. Chip is an advocate for student-athletes and, at the same time, a strong consensus builder. The fact that he was a former student-athlete constitutes a spirit and drive within him to build a strong program of strength, character and integrity."

Judy Rose
Director of Athletics
University of North Carolina-Charlotte

"I'm delighted with your choice of Chip Smith as Western Carolina University's new athletics director. He is a man of integrity and quiet dignity, a man who cares deeply about the welfare of student-athletes and their progress toward a college degree and toward improved athletic accomplishment. He will set high but attainable goals, and he will work with all the people connected with intercollegiate athletics to help them reach those goals."

Thomas W. Davis
Professor of History
Virginia Military Institute
President, The Southern Conference, 1995-1997
VMI's Faculty Athletics Representative, 1987-2001

"Chip is an outstanding young man with a great work ethic. He comes from a middle class background in Siler City. He is a bright young man with good leadership skills. He was president of his fraternity. I'm delighted that he is back in North Carolina, and I feel Western Carolina University will benefit greatly from his experience."

Moyer Smith
Executive Director (Retired)
The Educational Foundation Inc. (Rams Club)
University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill

"Chip Smith is an outstanding choice for director of athletics at Western Carolina. He is a wonderful person with a diverse background in college athletics. He has been a college student-athlete, fund-raiser, and internal and external operations administrator. That diversity will make him an excellent leader for Catamount athletics."

Bobby Purcell
Executive Director
The Wolfpack Club
N.C. State University

"Morehead State University has been fortunate to have Chip Smith as athletic director. He brought outstanding leadership to our athletic program during his tenure. Chip's commitment to student (emphasis intended) athletes is one of the things I most appreciate. In tight budget times, Chip hired a full-time athletic academic coordinator and opened an academic center that includes a computer lab, as well as study space for the student athletes. Always proud of our teams' success on the courts and fields, we place equal emphasis on their classroom accomplishments. Our experience with Chip was that he hit the ground running. I know that in Catamount country you will experience the same!"

Madonna Weathers
Vice President for Student Life
Morehead State University