Larrieu Smith and Gregory Retire After 20 Years of Coaching
Watch a video of Coach Gregory and Larrieu Smith engaging in a conversation about their retirements.
FRANCIE LARRIEU SMITH
Longtime Head Men’s and Women’s Cross Country and Track & Field Coach Francie Larrieu Smith announced her retirement after 20 years at Southwestern.
“Working with the Southwestern University athletic department for the past 19 years has been an incredibly rewarding experience,” said Smith. “Having the opportunity to work with our student-athletes through this important developmental stage in their lives is an experience I will treasure forever.”
Five-time Olympian Smith began at Southwestern in 1999 after an illustrious running career. During her time at the helm she has coached three athletes (one male and two female) to appearances at the NCAA Cross Country Championships. Smith’s cross country athletes have been named to South/Southeast Region honors 21 times and All-SCAC honors 24 times while her track athletes have won nearly 30 SCAC Event Championships and countless All-SCAC honors. Additionally, three athletes have earned SCAC Athlete of the Meet honors as the highest point scorer at the championship, receiving the distinction in 2008, 2013 and 2014.
“Southwestern University has been so fortunate to have an elite level coach of Francie Smith’s caliber as our head cross country coach for the past 20 years,” said Director of Athletics Dr. Glada Munt. “Not many college athletes, particularly in NCAA Division III, can say that they have been coached by a five-time Olympian. While we will miss her expertise and the positive life approach she brought to the job, her sincere commitment to each and every one of her student-athletes will be our greatest loss.”
As an athlete, Smith had her best Olympic finish in 1988 with a fifth place finish in the 10,000 meters at Seoul, South Korea. As a crowning achievement, she was the flag bearer for the U.S. Olympic Team in Barcelona, Spain (1992).
During the course of her 30-year career, Smith established 36 U.S. records and 12 world bests in distances ranging from 1,000 to 10,000 meters. She was selected by Runner’s World magazine as “The Most Versatile Runner of the Quarter Century.” Coach Smith is a member of several halls of fame including The Texas Women’s Hall of Fame, The National Track and Field Hall of Fame, and the Long Distance Running Hall of Fame.
“I would like to thank Southwestern University administration, from President Edward Burger to Director of Athletics Dr. Glada Munt, for their tremendous support for Southwestern men and women’s cross country and track & field. I am confident the programs will continue to flourish”
Coach Smith will continue to run the day-to-day operations for the program until July 31st while a nationwide-search for Southwestern’s next head men’s and women’s cross country coach will begin immediately.
The longest coaching tenure in the history of the Southwestern men’s soccer program is coming to an end. Don Gregory, who completed his 20th season as head coach of the Pirates, is stepping down.
“I am very appreciative and grateful to all of Southwestern University for the 20 years I served as the men’s soccer coach,” said Coach Gregory. “My family, Becky, Sean, Kevin and I will take nothing but outstanding memories in our retirement. The coaching peers, assistants, staff, faculty, administrators and particularly the soccer student-athletes have made the 20-season ride a life-changing experience.”
Gregory took over the reins for the 1998 season, inheriting a young program that had not won more than seven games in a single season in their first five years. Gregory turned things around quickly, winning 11 games in 1999 and consistently had the Pirates in the top half of the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) for the rest of his tenure.
Gregory has amassed a career collegiate coaching record of 198-172-24 and owns every men’s soccer coaching record at Southwestern.
“I am profoundly appreciative for the decades of positive energy Don Gregory has poured into our athletic program, Southwestern, and our greater community,” said President Edward Burger. “He has committed his life to helping others and inviting them to shine, and for that great gift, I am extremely grateful.”
Gregory has led the Pirates to two 14-win seasons with the most recent coming in 2013 when the Pirates defeated longtime rival and perennial-powerhouse Trinity 1-0 on the road. Southwestern closed that season in the SCAC Championship game where they were narrowly defeated by Trinity 1-0 in one of the most entertaining matches in recent memory.
“Coach Gregory has had a great career here at Southwestern and provided us outstanding leadership for our men’s soccer program, particularly during our transitional years when the University joined NCAA Division III,” said Director of Athletics Dr. Glada Munt. “He has been admired throughout the Southwestern and Georgetown communities for his philanthropic efforts, most recently in his work with The Locker. We will miss him and wish Coach Gregory and his wife, Becky, much enjoyment in his upcoming retirement.”
Coach Gregory has coached over 20 First Team All-SCAC selections including 2013 SCAC Defensive Player of the Year Matthew Nickell and 2012 SCAC Co-Offensive Player of the Year Evan Perkins. Gregory has earned SCAC Coach of the Year twice, grabbing the honor in 2007 and 2013. Eight players have been named to NSCAA All-Region teams under his tutelage.
On October 7, 2007, Coach Gregory recorded his 100th win as the head coach of the Pirates and his collegiate coaching career, where he led the team to a 6-0 victory vs. Hendrix College on Southwestern’s home field.
In addition to his impact on the pitch, Gregory has impacted students in the classroom as a assistant professor within the Kinesiology department. Gregory taught the “Coping with Social Responsibility” cohort which began the One Swipe Program on-campus to help provide food to the local poor and hungry. He has begun a number of programs that have become synonymous with Southwestern including, Pirates for Pirates and the Pirate Anchor Award.
Gregory has also had a profound impact on the community in which he resides. For eight years, Gregory has taken SU student volunteers to the Williamson County Juvenile Center to play sports and promote connections. Additionally, Gregory has served as a mentor within Georgetown Independent School District, served on the board for The Locker and Boys and Girls Club, hosted “Camp Crosby annually, and was honored with the SU Community Engagement Fellowship in 2017-18, the only non-faculty fellow.
“The most empowering and uplifting part of my job at Southwestern for the past 20 years rests in the fact that I was in a position to give student-athletes the opportunity to become college soccer players within an outstanding academic environment. I am fortunate to have been able to make that happen for so many young adults in the world’s greatest game – soccer. Thank you, Southwestern, on many levels, for this wonderful professional opportunity.”
Coach Gregory will continue to run the day-to-day operations for the program until May 31, while a nationwide-search for Southwestern’s fourth head men’s soccer coach will begin immediately.