By Joey Kittle
ELKINS - Davis & Elkins College Director of Athletics Ronnie Palmer has announced the hiring of Gene Smith as the school's new women's soccer coach.
Smith replaces Raul Ovalle, who guided the Senators to a G-MAC championship this past fall.
"I'm really excited to get started," Smith said. "The program has had great success in the past and I look forward to not only continuing, but growing that success.
"The current team has tremendous potential, but we need to get better each day."
Smith comes to Elkins after a four-year stint at Pennsylvania State Athletics Conference power California, Pa. Smith spent two seasons as an assistant at Cal before being named the school's head coach in 2012.
The Vulcans reached the NCAA Tournament in each of Smith's four seasons, claimed the PSAC regular season championship on three occasions and won the league tournament twice. The 2011 squad set a school record with 20 wins and advanced to the NCAA quarterfinals.
Prior to coaching at Cal, Smith spent five seasons at Plymouth State University, a NCAA Division III institution in New Hampshire.
A native of Connecticut, Smith finished his playing career as a two-year starter at NCAA Division III Norwich University (Vt.) after originally playing at Xavier University. He has also competed and coached for several premier teams in his home state. Smith enjoyed success in semi-professional and professional settings with various teams in the United Soccer League (USL) and abroad.
In addition to his collegiate experience, he served as the Director of Coaching for the New Hampshire Classics and was the head coach of the under-17 Olympic Development Program team. Under Smith's direction, the team advanced to the regional finals in back-to-back seasons - a first for New Hampshire Soccer. He also served with the US Youth Soccer ODP in Connecticut and Vermont.
"We are extremely excited to have someone with Gene's experience, background and success rate to lead our women's soccer program."
Smith earned his undergraduate degree from Norwich in 1998 before completing a master's degree from Northeastern University (Mass.) in 2009.