Retirement Life for Fred Smith


After many years of endless days at the office, meetings, and traveling, many look forward to retirement. Although Fred Smith has stepped down as the Director of Athletics, he is still active at Siena Heights.

Smith was the athletic director for 36 years before retiring. He worked at Siena Heights for 43 years.

“It has been a privilege to work for an Adrian Dominican sponsored institution and to be part of building an athletic program virtually from scratch,” he says.

The athletic program didn’t start at Siena Heights until 1972. It first started out with baseball, wrestling, cross country and golf. When Smith arrived in 1976, he said that they had seven sports and about 70-80 athletes. Sports weren’t played on campus; they were played at other locations instead.

“We built all this, the fieldhouse was built in ’78,” he said. “Being a part of that growth has been really special.”

Smith said of the progress that has been made at Siena Heights. Smith also says that the athletic enrollment report is about to come out.

“I know we’ll be somewhere between 630-650 student athletes. It’s been great to watch it all and be a part of it,” Smith said.

During his time aat Siena, Smith said that he has seen every sport at campus and could tell a story about all of them.

During his time of work at Siena, Smith coached many sports for 29 years. Basketball was the main sport that he coached. Smith said that he loved coaching anything, but basketball was his main sport because he played it in college.

“It was my first love,” he said.

He coached golf and cross country at Siena as well, but basketball was his calling. Smith enjoyed building the culture of basketball at Siena.

“The culture we built was one that was very unique for our program. We are a pretty hard working, exciting, and tough team, and we put on a good show for the Adrian community,” Smith said.

When asked about his favorite part of his job, Smith said it was working with and developing the students. He said he enjoys being a mentor for the student-athletes and guiding them on the right path.

He said that just because he is a coach doesn’t mean that he can’t be there for students.

“It doesn’t mean that I have to be directly coaching, but just be there as somebody that cares about you and asks about you,” he said. “That’s one of the great things about small colleges, you build relationships and you help them, but in the same token, you’re there as a resource as they are discovering themselves,” he continued. He said it’s been a very rewarding job to him.

Smith has stepped down from being the athletic director, but he is still very involved with the sports at Siena. In fact, he is still helping Coach and Interim Athletic Director Sue Syljebeck. He said he still wants to be connected to Siena.

In his off time, Smith said he loves to play golf. He is a big sports lover and enjoys following them. He also enjoys spending time with his family and watching his grandchildren play sports.

Smith said he will be helping run the Homecoming football game, but he is also being inducted into the Hall of Fame Saturday night He says that he is nervous about it but is excited to be honored this way.