End of an Era
By Justin Grube, Sports Information Director, Shawnee State University (Ohio)
The face of women's basketball at Shawnee State University (Ohio) since the program's inception 30 years ago, Robin Hagen-Smith has announced her plans to retire as head coach of the women's basketball team. Her retirement will become effective June 30.
Hagen-Smith has compiled a coaching record of 637-161 since the Bears joined the NAIA during the 1989-90 season. This win total earns her the distinction of the NAIA's Active Winningest Coach in women’s basketball. She also led the Bears to a 76-52 record when Shawnee State was still a community college competing in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA).
"It has been an honor and privilege to coach the Bears for the past 30 years,” Hagen-Smith said. “I am so proud to have been associated with Shawnee State University, the NAIA and most recently the Mid-South Conference. I have enjoyed the wonderful relationships with players, staff, faculty, administration, fans, Golden Bears, opposing coaches, and officials, and I want to thank them for the support they have given me and our basketball program," Hagen-Smith said
"I would also like to thank my husband, Gregg, who has been on the sidelines with me most of my career. We have had a lot of fun and made many lifetime memories together in the teaching and coaching profession. God has blessed us tremendously,” she said.
“After much thought and prayer, I know in my heart that it is time to walk away from the game that has been so good to me. It has been an incredible journey. I am looking forward to spending time with my family and watching my two daughters grow up."
Overall, Hagen-Smith’s career record comes to 713-213, as she won nearly 77 percent of her total games coached. Her 637 wins as an NAIA coach gave her a winning percentage of just under 80 percent since the transition to the NAIA. With her longtime assistant coach Gregg Smith, Hagen-Smith has led her Bears to the NAIA Tournament a total of 18 different times – all of which came during the past 20 seasons.
"Robin has been a pillar for the Shawnee State athletic department for a long time, and we greatly appreciate all she has done and meant for the Bears,” said Jeff Hamilton, Shawnee State athletics director and head men’s basketball coach. “It has been a real honor to work alongside her for these past 12 years. I have learned a lot from Robin about coaching basketball, as well as integrity, professionalism, and character—values that go way beyond the hardwood," Hamilton said. "She has become a close personal friend throughout our years working together. We want to wish her the very best as she steps away from the game."
Hagen-Smith's career reached the ultimate national platform during the 1998-99 season when her team went 31-2 overall and won the NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball National Championship. Her national championship victory came with an 80-65 win over Saint. Francis (Ind.), 80-65. That Bears team was inducted as a group to the Shawnee State Hall of Fame and still stands as the only team in school history to capture an NAIA Championship in any sport. Following that run to the national title, Hagen-Smith was named the NAIA Coach of the Year and coached the only NAIA Player of the Year in Shawnee State program history, Erica Hayes.
Shawnee State nearly replicated that run during the 2009-10 season when the Bears advanced to the NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball National Championship game before falling just one step short of the ultimate prize to Northwestern College (Iowa). That near-title run during the 2009 postseason came just one year after the Bears completed the only undefeated regular season in program history with a 30-0 mark entering the NAIA Tournament. The 2009 perfect run ended at three- straight games with an overtime loss in the NAIA Championship second round
In her 18 NAIA championship appearances, Hagen-Smith went a combined 27-17. In addition to her appearances in the NAIA championship games, the Bears also made Fab Four showings during the 1995 and 2011 postseasons. The 2011 run to the Fab Four came in the program's first season as an NAIA Division I school. Shawnee State also made the NAIA quarterfinals six times and was 14-4 in first-round games under Hagen-Smith's leadership.
Twenty-three of Hagen-Smith’s players have been named NAIA All-Americans. This list includes 10 players that were first-team NAIA All-Americans. Sixty-three different players have been named to their respective all-conference teams, spanning from the Mid-Ohio Conference, American Mideast Conference and the Mid-South Conference. Five of those players were named conference players of the year, while three different individuals have been named the conference freshman of the year.
Hagen-Smith has been honored as the conference's coach of the year on seven different occasions. Her most recent honor in that category came during the 2010-11 season, which was Shawnee State's first as a member of the Mid-South Conference. Her previous six honors came during her time in the American Mideast Conference. She also was named the 1998 WBCA IKON and 1999 Dispatch Women's Ohio College Basketball Coach of the Year.
Among Hagen-Smith’s numerous Hall of Fame recognitions, perhaps none was more prestigious than her induction into the NAIA Hall of Fame as a member of the Class of 2011. She is also a member of the Rio Grande Athletic Hall of Fame (Class of 1989), South Webster Hall of Fame (Class of 1998) and Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame (Class of 2010). She is also a member of Shawnee State's Hall of Fame, and she was inducted with the inaugural Class of 2000.
Hagen-Smith will continue with her responsibilities as a full-time faculty member in the Shawnee State Sports Studies program.
Jeff Nickel, who has served as an assistant coach with the women's basketball team for the past four seasons, will assume the duties of interim head coach for the upcoming 2013-14 season.