Westmont’s Russell Smelley has been honored by the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) with its 2014 Coach of Character Award. Smelley is in his 36th year as head coach for Westmont’s track and field and cross country teams.
“What I personally appreciate about Coach Smelley is his consistent pursuit of excellence without compromising the character values he makes the priority of his coaching philosophy,” said Westmont athletic director Dave Odell. “He is a fantastic example of how to be competitive and achieve success in athletics while remaining unwavering in a commitment to teach character and being a role model for both student athletes and coaches alike.
“In my 30 year history with the NAIA, I cannot think of a more deserving candidate for this honor,” continued Odell. “Coach Smelley is deeply imbedded in the fabric of all that is great about the NAIA. He was a champion of character before the term became a part of our culture.”
Asked what the award means to him, Smelley replied, “I hope that it reflects a growing faith and living out a faith in Jesus Christ.