Dan Smith to leave role
as Western’s SRS Director
By Aron Yeomanson
“BACK IN THE DAY, THEY CALLED ME ‘SMITTY’.” Western
loses a real gem in diamond-in-the-rough SRS director Dan Smith.
Is a future career in firearms sales at Smith & Wesson
in the cards? Or maybe a stint at Smith Books? Only time
Western sports suffered a significant loss on Tuesday, but it
didn’t take place on a rink, court or field.
Dan Smith, the university’s director of Sports and Recreation
Services since 2001, announced his intention to step down effective
June 1 of this year.
Smith, who holds an Honors BA and MA in Physical Education from
Western, has experienced the Canadian sporting world from many
perspectives. He played on the Western Mustangs’ men’s
hockey team from 1972 to 1976 before being hired by the Canadian
Amateur Hockey Association as Assistant Technical Director in 1978.
From there, Smith went on to hold several positions with Sport
Canada from 1985 to 2001, when he came to Western on a three-year
contract under the Government of Canada’s Interchange program.
“Coming back as an alumnus, I was very excited about making
a contribution to one of the best intercollegiate athletics and
recreation programs in the country,” Smith said.
Over the past three years Smith has been responsible for overseeing
activities ranging from aquatics to intramural sports to varsity
athletics, while managing to overcome a tight budget in the process.
“We had a tough financial situation coming in,” Smith
noted. “But through fundraising and other strategies we’ve
been able to put Sports and Recreation on a strong foundation.”
After three years Smith has a lot to be proud of.
“Mostly, I’m really happy with all of the relationships
I’ve been able to develop with students, athletes, coaches
and staff,” he said. “I feel we were able to make people
more aware of the importance of athletics to the university.”
Upon leaving in June, Smith will return to a position in the federal
civil service in Ottawa. Citing “personal reasons” as
the main factor in his decision to step down, Smith will be missed
by the Western athletic community.
“Western has a long tradition of excellence in sports and
recreation,” said Western President Paul Davenport in a press
release. “During his time with us, Dan has reinforced and
built on this proud tradition and Western is very much in his debt.
We are sorry to see him leave.”
“Dan has been very easy to work with,” said Western
football coach Larry Haylor. “He listens, hears and tries
very hard to meet the demands of coaches and has done a tremendous
job at dealing with a very big mandate.”
Presumably, the university will now look to find a suitable replacement
to fill the vacant position.
“The main concern of the coaches is that this position is
filled by someone who is a strong advocate for sport,” Haylor
said. “We need someone who is always making an argument for
Smith’s efforts in improving Sports and Recreation at Western
will no doubt be missed, and he expressed some reservations of
his own about his departure.
“I will miss the pride and spirit at Western,” Smith
said. “Most of all, I’ll miss the people I’ve
had the privilege of working with during the last three years.”