Thursday, January 26, 2023

Ole Miss Extends Contract of Head Coach Connie Price-Smith

Ole Miss Athletics has extended the contract for track & field and cross country head coach Connie Price-Smith, Vice Chancellor for Intercollegiate Athletics Keith Carter announced on Thursday.

“We are thrilled to have Connie’s leadership at Ole Miss,” Carter said. “In her six seasons in Oxford, she has elevated every facet of our program and built Ole Miss into a perennial national contender in the cross county, indoor and outdoor seasons. Under Connie’s guidance, our program will continue to achieve new levels of championship success.”

Ole Miss is coming off a historic 2021 campaign under Price-Smith in her sixth season, who took the Rebels to unprecedented heights amid a hectic schedule. In the final USTFCCCA Program of the Year standings — which awards point values toward each school’s finish at the cross country, indoor and outdoor national meets — Ole Miss tied a program record third-place finish on the men’s side and set a new program record with a seventh-place finish in the women’s standings. Ole Miss has appeared in the Program of the Year standings six times in its history, all coming under Price-Smith since 2016.

Price-Smith’s Rebels opened national competition this year by scoring a combined program record 32 points at the NCAA Indoor Championships following the highest men’s finish since 2001 (10th) and the third-best indoor finish in women’s history (19th). Just two days later, the Rebels made history again at the rescheduled NCAA Cross Country Championships, with the Rebel men notching their second-best finish in 12th place and the women demolishing their school record with a 12th-place slot of their own. The Rebels closed the season with another solid showing at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, where Waleed Suliman (third) and Mario Garcia Romo (fifth) scored amidst a historic men’s 1500-meter final field, and Shey Taiwo shocked with a massive NCAA runner-up finish in the women’s hammer.

On the track, Price-Smith has mentored seven Rebel NCAA Champions (four titles), five NCAA runners-up (all in 2021), 105 First or Second-Team All-Americans (41.2 percent of all such honors in Ole Miss track history), seven NCAA top-25 team finishes, and her athletes have scored 161 points at the NCAA Indoor and Outdoor Championships combined. In the high-powered SEC, her Ole Miss teams have notched program record finishes in men’s indoor (3rd, twice), women’s indoor (5th, 2017) and women’s outdoor (5th, 2018), while coaching 50 SEC individual champions along the way.

In cross country, the Rebels have flourished, with the men recording six straight NCAA berths and the women five in a row (the first five in program history).  At the NCAA meet, Ole Miss stands as one of just four programs nationwide alongside BYU, Colorado and Stanford to have placed both its men’s and women’s programs within the top-25 each of the last five seasons. At a conference level, the Rebels have been just as successful in the ultra-competitive SEC. Ole Miss won its first two conference titles in track or cross country history in 2018 and 2019, with the Rebel men repeating as SEC cross country champs. The Rebel women, meanwhile, have finished top-three each year since 2016 at the conference cross country meet after having never done so prior.

Ole Miss previously announced contract extensions for its 12 other head coaches. Rebel Athletics is coming off a banner year in which all but one team advanced to the postseason en route to a 22nd-place finish in the Learfield IMG College Directors’ Cup standings, the highest in school history.

Courtesy of Ole Miss Sports