Rita Smith promoted to Associate Athletic Director

Rita Smith promoted to Associate Athletic Director

Photo Courtesy of Gerry Wall

BANNER ELK, N.C. – Lees-McRae College's Director of Athletic Training and Senior Woman Administrator Rita Smith has been promoted to the position of Associate Athletic Director, Vice President of Athletics and Club Sports Craig McPhail announced Tuesday afternoon.

"This is a natural fit for Rita and I am grateful to have her experience help make our student-athletes time here well spent," said McPhail. "This allows our athletic department to grow, while providing our coaches and staff even stronger leadership."

Smith came to Lees-McRae in 1983 as an athletic trainer, assistant basketball and assistant tennis coach as well as associate dormitory director. Over the years she has guided the growth of the athletic training program from just herself, to its current level as a CAATE accredited program with four additional certified athletic trainers and thirteen athletic training students.

"I am extremely honored and grateful for the opportunity to serve the college and our athletic department in this capacity," said Smith. "There are so many good things happening for us at this time and I am excited to be a part of the leadership team for the future. I appreciate the faith that Craig has in me to take on this role for the department and am thrilled to be a part of the positive direction we are moving."

During her time at Lees-McRae, Smith has also worked numerous camps and special events from Dave Cowens Basketball Schools to Special Olympic World Games and NCAA Division II Track & Field Championship. Smith earned her Bachelor of Science from University North Carolina Greensboro and her Master of Arts from Appalachian State University. She is a NATA certified athletic trainer as well as a North Carolina licensed athletic trainer.

"I am excited to elevate her responsibilities as I know we will all benefit from her organization and wisdom, as well as her love for Lees-McRae," McPhail said. "Having spent three decades on campus, she will enhance our organizational structure, providing key talents to give us the best chance for sustained success."

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