Southern Illinois University track & field coach Connie Price-Smith will be the women's head coach for Team USA at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, USATF announced Wednesday.
A four-time Olympian and 25-time national champion in the shot put and discus, Price-Smith has a distinguished career as both a competitor and coach at the world level. She was a member of 34 international U.S. squads as an athlete, and served as an assistant coach at the 2008 Olympic Games, as well as the 2004 World Junior Championships in Kingston, Jamaica. She was also an assistant at the 2005 World Indoor Championship in Budapest, Hungary and with the U.S. 2006 World Cup Team in Athens, Greece.
"To be named head coach is an extremely gratifying honor," Price-Smith said. "I look forward to getting our team ready to compete, and sharing my knowledge and experiences with our athletes."
The Team USA staff includes women's assistant coaches Bonnie Edmonson, Robyne Johnson, Rose Monday and LaTanya Sheffield.
Price-Smith recently completed her 14th season as head coach at her alma mater. After spending her first three years as the head women's coach, Price-Smith took over the combined men's and women's program in 2004-05 and has since kept SIU track and field among the top programs in the Missouri Valley Conference.
Under Price-Smith, a 1990 Saluki Hall of Fame inductee, SIU's women's team has won five conference titles and finished a program-best ninth in the nation at the 2010 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships -- the third-best finish of either gender in SIU history. The SIU men's team recently ended a 23-year drought with their first conference title since 1992. A five-time MVC Coach of the Year, Price-Smith has coached SIU athletes to a combined 184 MVC individual titles, 51 All-American honors and eight individual NCAA champions during her time as both the head women's coach and at the helm of the combined program. Southern Illinois had two national champions at the 2015 NCAA Outdoor meet in June -- Raven Saunders (shot put) and DeAnna Price (hammer throw).