Barton College has filled its head coaching vacancy, pulling Kevin Woodhull-Smith from the former staff on the eliminated East Carolina program.
Woodhull-Smith was the head assistant coach for both men and women at ECU before that Division I program was eliminated in a budget reduction earlier this year. He spent five seasons (from 2012 to 2017) as assistant coach and three more (2017 to 2020) as head assistant coach for ECU. That program had won four AAC titles during Woodhull-Smith’s eight years there, including the most recent title in 2020.
Prior to ECU, Woodhull-Smith was a Division I swimmer at NC State and served two years there as an assistant coach between 2010 and 2012.
Barton competes in the NCAA’s Division II and Conference Carolinas. They had a coaching vacancy when the program’s first-ever head coach, Tyler Ziegler, returned to Division III’s Catholic University this summer. Barton added men’s and women’s swimming to its athletic department in 2016, and Ziegler led the program for its first four seasons.
The full Barton press release is below:
WILSON, N.C. – Barton College Director of Athletics Todd Wilkinson has announced the hiring of Kevin Woodhull-Smith as the school’s new Head Men’s and Women’s Swimming Coach. Woodhull-Smith replaces Tyler Ziegler, who resigned earlier this month to take the same position at Catholic University in Washington, D.C.
“I am excited to join the Barton Bulldogs’ family,” said Woodhull-Smith. “The swimming teams have had tremendous success in their brief histories and I’m looking forward to adding to that success. I want to thank Todd Wilkinson (Barton AD) for giving me the opportunity to lead this program. I also want to thank Coaches Rick Kobe and Matthew Jabs for all they have done for my career.”
Woodhull-Smith comes to Barton after spending the past eight years as Assistant Men’s and Women’s Swimming Coach at East Carolina University beginning in 2012. Prior to the 2017-18 season, Woodhull-Smith was elevated to Head Assistant Coach for the Pirates.
“Kevin Woodhull-Smith is going to be a great leader for Barton College Swimming,” said Wilkinson. “His credentials bring a championship background to our program that will further advance the success of our swimming programs. His strength as a great on-deck coach is an attribute that will be valuable in the development of our team.”
Under Woodhull-Smith’s direction, the Pirates’ men’s squad won four American Athletic Conference Championships (2015, 2016, 2017 and 2020) to go along with eight league individual champions in 22 events. In addition, Woodhull-Smith coached 28 swimmers to All-American Athletic Conference honors while five swimmers were NCAA Division I national qualifiers.
“Woodhull-Smith’s work at East Carolina University as the Head Assistant Coach was outstanding,” added Wilkinson. “He has developed multiple conference champions and NCAA qualifiers during his career along with being instrumental in the team championships. He knows what a championship team looks like and how to get there.”
Woodhull-Smith, a 2010 graduate of North Carolina State University with a bachelor’s degree in accounting, lettered four years on the nationally-ranked Wolfpack squad and qualified for the Olympic Trails in June of 2008 in the 200-yard individual medley. Woodhull-Smith earned his master’s degree from NCSU in parks, recreation and tourism management in 2012.
Woodhull-Smith was a graduate assistant for N.C. State for two years (2010-12) and served as an Assistant Coach for East Carolina Aquatics for eight years as well.
“Woodhull-Smith had an outstanding career swimming for North Carolina State University which gives him the ability to connect with all of our swimmers through experience and help them feel what it takes to train at a championship level,” said Wilkinson. “Barton is excited to add Kevin to our campus community as a mentor and a leader. Barton swimming is in great hands moving forward and I am anxious for our team to return and begin to train under our new coach.”
The Bulldogs have won back-to-back Conference Carolinas Men’s Swimming Championships (2019 and 2020) while the women’s squad won the league title in 2018.