Department of Intercollegiate Athletics
Lifetime Achievement Award
James E. Smith, Arts '56, Grad '61
Jim Smith has been head coach of men's basketball at Saint John's University in Collegeville, Minn., for 46 years, recently reaching the incredible milestone of 700 career wins. "It is a matter of longevity," he says.
"Playing at Marquette under Tex Winters in the mid-50s gave me a love of the game," says Jim, who was a four-year letter winner in men's basketball at Marquette. "Next, being an assistant coach was invaluable in learning how to coach young men."
Jim is the winningest collegiate basketball coach in Minnesota including 30 winning seasons at Saint John's and one of only two men in NCAA Division III history with 700 wins. He also is an associate professor of physical education and has coached golf, cross country and track at Saint John's. Last year, the university dedicated the Sexton Arena court the Jim and Adrienne Smith Court. Jim met Adrienne, Arts '56 and Grad '61, in an ethics class at Marquette.
"Marquette allowed me to experience excellence in my everyday life," says Jim, named coach of the year four times by the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. "Catholicism was never forced but was very apparent on campus. The whole Marquette experience helped me develop my leadership skills."
And, apparently, his sense of service. Jim was president of the NAIA Basketball Coaches Association in 1982 and '83; of the St. Cloud, Minn., PTA and Figure Skating Club; and a member of the St. Cloud Optimist Club and Chamber of Commerce. He also was inducted into the hall of fame for his high school alma mater, St. Edward's in Elgin, Ill., and the Elgin Sports Hall of Fame, and he received the 2009 Outstanding Service Award from the National Association of Basketball Coaches.
Jim says his mother was a great influence because of her patience and hard work. "To this day, I work hard, have a passion for what I am doing and enjoy each day," he says.
Fun facts about Jim
Someone (past or present) he’d like to have dinner with: Julia Child and Al McGuire