Florida Gulf Coast assistant coach Amanda Smith will resign her position after this year’s NCAA Championships and will leave college coaching, she tells SwimSwam.
“After spending nearly 20 years on the pool deck as an athlete and coach, I will be stepping away from the pool deck effective March 25th,” Smith said. “I cannot really put into words what it feels like, but this decision has been difficult, emotional and bittersweet. What awaits me next is a new chapter professionally, with finishing my Master’s degree in Teaching with hopes of being a secondary mathematics teacher, and personally, with a move to Saint Petersburg, Florida to finally be with my boyfriend, Zack Melnick.”
Smith joined Florida Gulf Coast in 2014 and spent 3 seasons with the Eagles. She was previously a volunteer Director of Operations for the Ohio State women’s team, and as an athlete was a 9-time All-American and co-captain at USC. Smith is completing an online Master’s degree in teaching from USC.
Her years at FGCU have marked the most successful in the young history of the program. In 2015, her first season as the program’s assistant, the Eagles were the highest-placing mid-major team at the NCAA Championships when they finished 26th, including putting the program’s first-ever relay into an A-final. They’ve also won CCSA conference championships in each of Smith’s 3 seasons with the program – which has straddled head coaches Neal Studd, who left last summer to take over at Florida State; and new coach Dave Rollins. Smith has also been with the team in the only two seasons in program history in which they’ve had relays invited to the NCAA Championships.
Christina Kaas Elmgreen is projected to be invited to this year’s championship in the 200 fly.
“Amanda has been an incredible coach and was the glue that kept this team together through the transition,” Rollins said. “We would not be the team we are today without her. She will be deeply missed but we know she will always be involved in some way.”
“In this moment right now, I do not see a return to coaching anytime soon, but I will be helping with Eagle Swim Camps at FGCU in the summers. My focus is to finish my degree and start building a future with Zack, but I already know that I will miss this sport and being by the water every day. As coaches we are so lucky to be surrounded by something we love each and every day.
“The knowledge and experiences I have gained here at FGCU are invaluable. I have met incredible people and worked with extraordinary young women in the pool. And this last season with Dave Rollins as our new Head Coach, was more than I ever could have asked for in my last season on the pool deck. Simply saying “thank you” to him, Ken Kavanagh (AD), Kathy Peterson (SWA), my athletes and this university is not enough to thank them for what they have given me as I start this new chapter. I am eternally grateful for them giving me this opportunity over the past three years, and am proud to be an Eagle for life because of that.”
Editor’s Note: Amanda Smith is a former contract writer for SwimSwam.