Volume 95, Issue 17

Friday, September 28, 2001
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Mustangs look to steady the ship

TD Waterhouse - good or bad?

Kwiatkowski- the next Steve Nash? Anything's possible

Elliotte Friedman: a reporter and a gentleman

Smith taking sports out to the Mustang masses

Mustang Mike Pasel holds the line on defense

As good as it gets

Smith taking sports out to the Mustang masses

By Ryan Dixon
Gazette Staff

He may not control the price of tuition or sling beers at The Ceeps, but chances are, somewhere along the line, Dan Smith will have a positive influence on your university experience.

Western's new director of Physical Activity Programs and Services made it clear he hopes to reach a plethora of Western students.

"An important thing to point out about the job I have is my mandate to be the Director of Athletics – so I am involved with intercollegiate athletics and overseeing that program – but also, overseeing and co-ordinating Campus Recreation, which touches virtually every student and many of the staff and faculty," Smith said.

It's not surprising athletics is the forum Smith has chosen to make an impact on peoples' lives, considering how long sports has been making an impression on him.

"I've been involved in sports since I was a young kid. I got involved in baseball and hockey early on," he said.

Smith was also heavily involved in sports during his time at Western. While completing his bachelor of arts with honours in physical education (now kineisiology) and his master's degree in sport psychology, he was also a purple and proud member of the Western hockey team.

Smith said hitting bodies and hitting the books had some direct correlations to his present occupation.

"I found the combination of athletics and academics was a very good one for me. They complemented each other and helped me with setting goals and developing a good work ethic and all those types of things," he said.

While some people might be quick to assume sports requires nothing but an able body, Smith was quick to point out an athletes' physical frame is most potent when it merges with the mind.

"You need intelligent athletes if they're going to be good contributing athletes and lead in situations and react appropriately," Smith said.

"When you're put into a situation where there's a huge crowd for the first time, when you're in the stress of a playoff game and when there are so many distractions, what mental preparation and sport psychology enable an athlete to do is prepare for those situations so that when they do arise, it's not like you're facing it for the first time. You've developed coping strategies. You've developed a plan of how your going to approach the game you're playing in," Smith said.

Athletics is just one aspect of a university's profile. Western's athletes can work with other facets of the university to maintain and increase the school's standing among its peers, Smith said.

"I think our university is known across the country and even internationally for the excellence of its academic programs, of it's research, of its athletics and of its contribution to the community. On the athletic side, there's no doubt that the reputation of Western helps promote [the school] abroad," Smith said.

Continuing to allow student athletes the chance to shine as Mustangs is something Smith is working to ensure.

"I hope to work closely with our coaches and with our staff to have an opportunity to ensure that we're providing the best program possible for our student athletes," he said.

As Smith carries on promoting sports and fitness to Western's student body, you can bet he will be quick to heed his own advice.

"I play different sports because it's fun and it's a good way to meet people. Also, it's good from a health point of view, so I've tried to stay involved," he said.

"As long as I continue to enjoy it, I'll continue doing it."

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Copyright The Gazette 2001