After more than 15 years at Kenyon, Athletic Director Peter Smith has decided to retire at the end of the semester. From the position he has held since 2002. Smith will now focus on his family and caring for his youngest son, according to an email sent by Vice President for Student Affairs Meredith Bonham ’92 on Wednesday.
Smith came to Kenyon due to his expertise both as an athletic director at Wesleyan College in Macon, Ga. and as the swim coach for Emory University in Atlanta, Ga., where he guided the program to national prominence.
“What makes Peter special is the level of support he gave to the individual athlete,” Sadiq Jiwa ’18, a member of the Lords golf team, said. “[On] multiple occasions, have I seen Peter talking individually with student athletes, myself included. [I] always enjoyed the 20-minute golf conversations when he visits me in the training room.”
During Smith’s time at Kenyon, the Lords and Ladies won 18 National Collegiate Athletic Conference (NCAA) championships and 45 North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) championships. Three of his coaches were named NCAA coach of the year.
“There are multiple occasions that I think of, especially in championships situations, I have always been impressed with how resolute Kenyon athletes are,” Smith said. “I have always sensed Kenyon students have focus and staying power and an intrinsic desire to prevail and win. There is a level of sportsmanship Kenyon athletes have.”
For the spring 2018 semester, Associate Athletic Director and Aquatics Director Amy Heasley Williams ’88 will serve as the interim athletic director. Before becoming a sports administrator at her alma mater, Williams served as a collegiate swim coach for 14 years, including six years as a head coach at Trinity College, Conn.
The College plans to start a nationwide search for a new athletic director shortly and hopes to have the position filled by the summer.
Noah Nash contributed reporting.