Alex Smith succeeded as a player and coach at the highest level of professional lacrosse due to his passion for the game, and he brings that dedication every day to the CSU program.
His loyalty to the Rams comes from playing at CSU and helping win a Menâ€™s Collegiate Lacrosse Association championship during his senior season.
â€œThatâ€™s still my best memory from lacrosse, is winning that game as a senior,â€ Smith said.
Smith didnâ€™t think he had much of a chance to play lacrosse professionally coming out of a non-Division I program like CSU, but preparedness and a commitment to improvement landed him a spot on a professional roster.
He was working at a Denver Outlaws event to gauge fan interest and one of the scheduled goalies didnâ€™t show up. Smith filled in and was noticed by then-Outlaws general manager Brian Reese.
â€œI noticed a goalie that looked like he would do anything to make the save,â€ Reese said.
The pair spoke after the event, and Smith was invited to the first Outlaws training camp. He made the team as a backup goalie, becoming the first Menâ€™s Collegiate Lacrosse Association player to ever suit up for a Major League Lacrosse team.
â€œAlex is a team first guy that would do whatever his coaches or teammates asked of him,â€ Reese said. â€œHe was always supportive of his teammates and his teammates respected him.â€
After playing for the Outlaws from 2006-2009, Smith made the transition into a coaching role.
â€œNot that I was old or whatever, but those kids were young and really good,â€ Smith said. â€œI jumped at it because coaching is really important to me and itâ€™s what I want to be doing.â€
Smith volunteered as a coach with CSUâ€™s lacrosse program from 2004 until 2009 when health problems forced then-coach Flip Naumburg to step down and he was promoted to the programâ€™s head coach.
After working with professionals and college players, Smith prefers the collegiate atmosphere.
â€œItâ€™s much easier coaching at this level because they care what I have to say,â€ he said. â€œI feel like Iâ€™ve earned their respect and they really want to work hard, which I appreciate.â€
He has compiled an overall record of 44-7 while making a positive, passionate impact on the team.
â€œHeâ€™s really intense, but he knows the game really well,â€ senior midfielder Matt Jui said. â€œLacrosse is his life.â€
Smith puts in 60-80 hours a week for CSU, and works clinics and camps to help support his family financially.
â€œIâ€™m putting in Division I hours, but not getting Division I pay,â€ Smith said, laughing.
The tradeoff, however, is getting to spend more time with his children. Smith stays at home with his three-year old and nine-month old kids during the day, and switches with his wife before practice.
â€œThatâ€™s what itâ€™s about for me,â€ Smith said. â€œIâ€™m really thankful for my life and the opportunities Iâ€™ve been given here at CSU.â€
Menâ€™s lacrosse Beat Reporter Kyle Grabowski can be reached at email@example.com.
Alex Smith, CSU lacrosse head coach
From Parker, Colo.
Went to Ponderosa High School
Played in two national championship games at CSU, winning one
Played for the Denver Outlaws from 2006-2009
Assistant coach with Outlaws 2010-2011
CSU head coach 2009-Present