Western says Farewell to Patsy Smith

By Leo Lemos

May 5, 2014

As the Spring 2014 semester comes to an end, there is one faculty member who will not be returning in the Fall. Patsy Smith, the current senior associate director of athletics and senior women’s administrator, will be retiring at semester's end. She is responsible for the financial aspect of athletics, such as monitoring budgets, purchases, travel and grant-in aids. She is also the sports administrator for soccer and volleyball. As the senior women’s administrator, she is in charge of making decisions within the department and, in the absence of the director of athletics, Smith steps up to the plate and takes charge. Smith also serves as the liaison between athletics and multiple departments across Missouri Western. During the summer, she assists with the Kansas City Chief’s training camp. While that seems like a lot of responsibility, it doesn’t end there. Smith is also the chairman of the institutional representative council for the MIAA conference. For the past two years, she has served as Vice Chair. She also serves on the strategic planning committee and the hall of fame committee. On top of that, Smith has also served in regional ranking committees for women’s tennis and women’s basketball for the NCAA. She has also served two terms on the NCAA Championships Committee. Smith reflected on her years at Western and expressed her gratitude for all of the opportunities Missouri Western has provided. “Missouri Western has given me a great opportunity,” Smith said, “I was able to compete in tennis and play doubles with my oldest daughter. While I coached, my youngest daughter played for me for four years. Also, I received my accounting degree, which led to my position here at Missouri Western." Smith came to Western as a non-traditional student in the fall of 1990 and was a college athlete on the tennis team for 4 years. As she was finishing her degree in 1994, she became the tennis coach. As the years progressed, she coached and became the Business Manager at Western, She also handled student athlete academics and NCAA Compliance. Additional responsibility was added as she moved through the ranks to assistant director of athletics, then to associate director of athletics and at last to her current position Current associate director Brett Esely has worked with Smith for 14 years and reflects on his relationship with her. "I have worked very closely with Patsy in a multitude of roles," Esely said, "She is a great friend, colleague and always has the best interests of the student athletes in mind. She has been a great mentor to me throughout my career. Patsy Smith has been married to Tom Smith, who is the currently the tennis coach at Western, for 15 years, and he feels strongly about his wife’s accomplishments “There is not one person that I know that has done what Patsy has done,” Smith said, “She went back to school when her own children were raised, was an athlete during that time, got her accounting degree, was a coach and became first ever Financial Director, which was something the school desperately needed.” Over the years Patsy Smith has worked under 6 Athletic Directors, that is a tremendous accomplishment. Six different individuals valued and trusted Smith. “I have worked for four presidents and six athletic directors,” Smith said. “I have learned something from each and every one of them” What has made Smith so valuable and so special is that every athlete that comes to Western come in contact with her. Tom Smith feels that that is a distinguished character among the faculty. “That’s what separates Patsy from the rest of the faculty,” Tom Smith said. “Every athlete she has come into contact with knows that she is there to help them with whatever they need, and they respect her.” Senior softball pitcher Jackie Bishop recalled her encounters with Patsy Smith “She is such a sweet lady,” Bishop said. “Always so friendly and approachable.” After retirement, Patsy plans on spending more time traveling with her husband, and spending more time with her children and grandchildren. Patsy expressed what she’d miss the most about working at Western. “What I will miss the most is the students, they are the reason we are all here,” Smith said, “Working with them keeps you young.” Patsy Smith will be sorely missed by athletes and faculty alike.