Trinity Valley Community College Thursday announced several changes in the athletic department following the retirement of long-time Athletic Director and Men's Basketball coach Leon "Red" Spencer last month. TVCC President Ron Baugh said effective immediately Lady Cards Head Coach Michael Landers would assume the responsibilities of athletic director. As his first official act as athletic director, Landers announced the hiring of Patrick Smith, currently head men's basketball coach at Bimidji State University (Minn.), as TVCC men's head basketball coach.
In announcing his retirement in March, Spencer left open the possibility to remain in some capacity, but Wednesday said he decided to fully retire from TVCC athletics. Baugh said he felt like he needed to move quickly to fill the position to keep the program moving forward, especially given the recruiting demands on athletics this time of year. Baugh said Landers' success as a coach is unquestioned (186-14 in six seasons) and said he was confident he would make an equally excellent athletic director.
"Leon will be missed," Baugh said. "He has demonstrated a level of expertise not only as a coach but in the control of the athletics program as a whole. I am confident, however, that Michael can continue to move us forward."
Baugh said Landers was involved in the selection process to hire a new men's coach and said he is confident they made the right decision in hiring Smith, who will assume his responsibilities with the Cardinals in mid-May.
"I was very impressed with Pat's background in relationship to his work with athletes in helping them understand that they need to be positive representatives of the institution and of themselves on the court and off the court," Baugh said. "His background also shows that he is concerned about graduating as many players as possible and getting them placed in universities after they leave the community college ranks. He also has a pretty doggone good won-loss record and has had success in helping programs recover and turn around. I think he will be a good match for our program, will bring in good athletes and produce a winning program as we move to the future."
Smith is a 23-year coaching veteran and spent 20 of those years coaching at community colleges, earning more then 400 career wins and averaging 22 wins a season. He is no stranger to Region XIV basketball, having spent five seasons as coach at Jacksonville College, posting winning seasons four seasons there. He began is coaching career at Sue Bennett Junior College (Ky.) in 1982. On his way to Jacksonville, he coached at St. Catharine Junior College (Ky.), Lincoln Land Community College (Ill.) Wabash Valley College (Ill.) and Barton County Community College (Kans.) He spent two years at Jacksonville, then left for a season for the University of Miami, and returned for three more seasons with Jacksonville before moving on to Moberly Area Community College (Mo.) He led Moberly to a 30-7 record his first year and guided them to the fifth-place finish at the national tournament. He spent three seasons with Moberly, leaving his final season in 2003-04 with a 28-5 record and a regional title. Smith posted winning seasons both seasons with Bemidji State (17-12 and 15-13), finishing second in the conference his first season and third his second. He was named Kentucky Junior College Coach of the Year (1987), Illinois Junior College Coach of the Year twice (1993 and 1994), Great Rivers Conference Coach of the Year (1994) and Region/District 10 Coach of the Year (2002) and Region XVI Coach of the Year (2004). Smith and wife Jennifer have been married 11 years. They have two sons - Jared (15) and Cameron (9).