The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

ENMU to seek women's soccer, golf coaches

Smith leaving after two years at helm.

 

January 26, 2020



PORTALES — Matt Billings began his tenure as Eastern New Mexico University’s athletic director on Monday. As of Friday, he had two coaching searches on his to-do list.

One position is new, as the ENMU Board of Regents voted 5-0 to approve women’s golf as a sport for fall 2020 during its Thursday morning meeting in Santa Fe.

The second is a vacancy, created when Joshua Smith resigned his position after two seasons with the women’s soccer program. Smith could not be reached for comment, but a release from the school indicated he was leaving for other coaching opportunities.

Under Smith, the Green and Silver were 17-17-3, with a 10-14-1 mark in Lone Star Conference play.

Smith was arguably one of the program’s best coaches in his short tenure, leading the Greyhounds to their first LSC title game appearance in school history in his first season. An early rash of injuries in 2019 short-circuited plans to build on that success, but the team still fell just one spot short of another LSC playoff berth.

“Eastern New Mexico University is a special place,” Smith said in the release where he thanked administration for the opportunity. “We have accomplished a lot the last two years and I am humbled to have been a part of this. It has been my honor to coach these special players and I have no doubt the program at Eastern will continue to do great things.”

Smith’s coaching record would indicate leaving ENMU after two seasons isn’t out of the ordinary. He also spent two seasons in each of his three previous coaching jobs — University of the Southwest, Northern Oklahoma College-Tonkawa and Crandall High School in Texas.

Regarding golf in the upcoming year, the school had looked at a few options for women’s sports to add to help with Title IX compliance, but sports like beach volleyball didn’t gain much traction with the small number of Division II schools competing in the sport and the infrastructure requirements.

Adding golf does not require ENMU to have its own golf course or hold a golf tournament, and it could just build a schedule by joining already-scheduled meets. A student vote taken during the homecoming royalty election had 483 voters supporting, 33 against and 31 indifferent to adding a women’s golf team without raising tuition or student fees.

Of the 19 teams in the Lone Star Conference, only three do not offer women’s golf — ENMU, Texas Woman’s and Texas-Permian Basin. Adding ENMU would keep participation at 16 schools, with Tarleton State leaving for Division-I pastures in the fall.

Eastern New Mexico has been working on practice agreements with Colonial Park Golf Course in Clovis and New Mexico Military Institute in Roswell. The nine-hole Portales Country Club does not meet NCAA competition standards.

Attempts to reach Billings Friday were unsuccessful.

 
 

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