Shortly after the Rams finished second at the NCCAA Division II national tournament, head coach Jake Smith told team captains that he had decided to step down from his position.
Smith, who has spent 13 years in a Rams coaching role, made the decision to leave in July. The decision was made in large part because of his recent promotion to dean of students for residence life and student conduct.
“The traveling and recruiting [for the team] take time,” Smith told the Rams’ official website. “It’s hard to be away so much as a dean. I didn’t feel like I could continue to do both jobs well.”
Smith coached in 1995 and 1996, then returned to coach the women’s team in 2006, a position he held until 2011. He has helmed the men’s team since 2008, accumulating a 45-105-12 record.
The team finished 15-7-1 this season, the program’s best record in history. Smith guided the team through its first years in the NCCA’s Upper Midwest Athletic Conference (UMAC), earning a spot in the UMAC tournament in 2015.
The search for a new coach has already started. The athletics department would prefer someone with coaching and collegiate playing experience to fill the part-time position.
According to the job posting on the North Central website, the coach will be responsible for “all aspects” of the program. Duties include “leading personal faith growth, one-on-one and group instruction, practice and game planning, recruiting, travel arrangements, and non-conference scheduling.”