A major Power 5 school is starting a gymnastics program and Utah State’s Amy Smith will lead it
Clemson announced Tuesday that Smith will be the program’s first head coach. The Tigers will begin competition in 2023-24
Amy Smith’s time in Logan leading Utah State’s women’s gymnastics program is over.
Tuesday morning, Clemson University announced that Smith has been hired to lead the Tigers’ newly formed program, which is slated to begin ACC competition starting in 2023-24.
What is being said about Amy Smith’s hire by Clemson
Clemson athletic director Graham Neff: “We’re fired up to have Amy Smith lead our women’s gymnastics program. She understands what it takes to win a national championship, and her experience within the ACC, SEC and Pac-12 really stand out. Amy knows college gymnastics inside and out, and has demonstrated the ability to help student-athletes achieve both in and out of the gym.
“We are attempting to build this program the right way, and Amy and our administration share a vision for how great Clemson gymnastics can be, and that she can help create a strong culture. We had an unbelievable level of interest in this position and program, and we can’t wait to see Littlejohn (Coliseum) packed for our first event in 2024.”
Amy Smith: “This is an absolute dream come true — to have the trust to start a program of this caliber is an absolute honor. I would like to thank president Clements, Graham Neff, Stephanie Ellison Johnson, and everyone who was part of the interview process here at Clemson. Everywhere I turned there was somebody telling me what an incredibly special place this is and everyone I met absolutely backed that up. The sense of family, being “all in,” and absolutely wanting to do this the right way was incredibly apparent and invigorating through the process.
“I cannot wait to get started building this program — the level of support and the buzz about Clemson gymnastics is already off the charts and I cannot wait to keep that rolling and build on that momentum. Additionally, it is beyond cool to be a part of the inaugural ACC Gymnastics group. It is so exciting for collegiate gymnastics to bring another Power Fivw conference into the mix.”
Utah State athletic director John Hartwell: “We want to thank Amy Smith for leading our gymnastics program the last five years, which included NCAA bids in 2021 and 2022, and a conference championship this year. We wish her well as she starts the gymnastics program at Clemson.”
What did Amy Smith accomplish at Utah State?
- Smith led Utah State during one of the most successful eras in program history.
- In five seasons under Smith, Utah State set numerous program records, as she helped turn USU into one of the more successful non-Power Five programs.
- Under Smith, the Aggies finished in the top 25 in consecutive seasons for the first time since 1998-99.
- USU finished 23rd nationally this season, the highest ranking among non-Power Five programs in the country.
- The Aggies set a program record for the highest team score at an NCAA regional meet this year at the Norman, Oklahoma, regional.
- Utah State also won a conference title for the first time since 2005, winning the Mountain Rim Gymnastics Conference title for the first time ever.
- Smith ends her Utah State tenure with a career record of 39-55-2 that includes winning seasons in 2022 and 2020. The team’s 15 wins this year were the most since the 17-win 1999 season.
What will gymnastics look like in the ACC?
- With the addition of Clemson, women’s gymnastics is now an official ACC sport.
- The Tigers will join Pitt, NC State and North Carolina to make a four-team league.
- Prior to Clemson adding gymnastics, UNC, NC State, Pitt all competed in the East Atlantic Gymnastics League (EAGL) and will continue to do so for one final season, with ACC competition beginning in 2023-24.
What is next for the Utah State Aggies?
- In a release, Hartwell announced that Utah State has already begun a national search for a new coach.
- “We will move as quickly and efficiently as we can to identify the best available candidate to lead our program to continued success,” Hartwell said.
- Utah State is built for long-term success and returns many notable gymnasts, including Rebecca Wells, Brie Clark, Amari Evans, Maia Fishwick and Brianna Brooks.
- Clark in particular was a WCGA All-American as a freshman and the MRGC freshman and floor specialist of the year.