Texas A&M University-San Antonio announces first director of intercollegiate athletics & recreational sports program

By University Communications

Wednesday, 01 15 2020

SAN ANTONIO — Darnell Smith — once a top-recruited student-athlete at Taft High School — is returning home to lead the nascent intercollegiate athletics and recreational sports program at Texas A&M University-San Antonio. A&M-San Antonio’s intercollegiate athletics program will be a first for South Bexar County and will support the Institution’s aggressive growth trajectory and enrich the student experience. Smith will join A&M-San Antonio’s leadership team Jan. 15.

Smith recently served as the assistant athletic director of compliance at the University of Central Oklahoma, where he spent the past decade overseeing NCAA compliance, student-athlete services and student-athlete welfare programing. He was also the deputy Title IX coordinator for athletics, and he chaired the Division II Ethnic Minority and Women’s Internship Grant Committee. He will oversee the implementation of our intercollegiate athletics strategic plan and manage resources, facilities, finances and fundraising efforts for the division of athletics. 

“Darnell’s experience as a talented administrator and a strong advocate for the long-term success of ethnic minorities and women, as well as his time as a standout student-athlete and scholar, makes him a uniquely-suited leader to oversee the implementation of our athletics strategic plan,” said Cynthia Teniente-Matson, president of A&M-San Antonio.

Smith earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and a master’s degree of natural and applied sciences from Oklahoma State University (OSU), where he played defensive end from 2002 to 2006. Currently, Smith is pursuing his doctorate at the University of Oklahoma in adult and higher education with an emphasis in intercollegiate athletics administration. He was a three-time recipient of the Arthur Ashe Scholar Award at OSU, and he earned second-team honors on the ESPN the Magazine Academic All-America Team. He received the John McLendon Minority Foundation Scholarship.

“I am honored to be returning home to San Antonio to tackle a whole new set of challenges as we create Texas A&M University-San Antonio’s intercollegiate athletics program,” Smith said. “This is a rare opportunity I am eager to take on.” Smith says his mission at A&M-San Antonio is to be authentic, exude high character, work hard and pave the way for the future leaders participating in Jaguar athletics.

Before his success at OSU, both on and off the field, Smith spent his junior and senior years as a defensive end and linebacker at San Antonio’s Taft High School, where he earned all-district and co-Defensive Most Valuable Player honors, playing for former coach Lee Bridges. His senior team was runner-up in Texas Class 5A in 2001. Smith attended Virginia Allred Stacey Junior-Senior High School (Stacey) on Lackland Air Force Base as a freshman and sophomore and competed in men’s track and field and men’s basketball. He was instrumental in helping Stacey reach the men’s basketball playoffs (Area) during the 1999 and 2000 seasons, respectively.

A&M-San Antonio plans to launch women’s softball, men’s golf and men’s and women’s soccer programs this fall. For more information, visit tamusa.edu/athletics/news.html.


For more information, contact:

Cleo Garcia: 210-722-7944/cgarcia2@tamusa.edu

Danielle Saldaña: (210) 784-1122/dsaldana@tamusa.edu

News conference and community meet-and-greet

A news conference will take place 2 p.m. CST,  Wednesday, Jan. 15, at the A&M-San Antonio campus cafeteria in the Central Academic Building, located at One University Way. Immediately following, the community is invited to welcome and meet Darnell Smith at 2:45 p.m.

Texas A&M University-San Antonio

Established as a standalone university in 2009, Texas A&M University-San Antonio (A&M-San Antonio) is a comprehensive, four-year public university that reflects the culturally diverse, heritage-rich community it serves. Situated on nearly 700 acres in South San Antonio, A&M-San Antonio is a Military Embracing institution offering more than 40 undergraduate programs and 14 graduate programs to 7,000 students. A&M-San Antonio holds the HSI (Hispanic-Serving Institution) designation. Visit tamusa.edu for more information. The University is ranked No. 35 in the nation by Military Times for Best for Vets: Colleges. For more information about A&M-San Antonio’s Military Affairs program, visit tamusa.edu/military affairs.