Damien Smith has entering his eighth year as head women’s track & field and cross country coach at Riverside City College. Considered an elite coach in the United States, Smith earned his chance to lead the Tigers' programs in the Fall of 2010. Since taking the reins, Smith and his staff have made the women’s program one of the premier track and field programs in the state. From 2013 - 2015, Smith lead the Tigers to successful State Championship appearances finishing third in three-consecutive seasons, losing by a mere three points in 2015. In 2016 and 2019, the Tigers finished second at the State Championships. His teams have seen the podium all but two years as a head coach. In 2013-2014, he coached the state champion in the 200 M, Just’N Thymes, who later won the USA Junior Nationals in Des Moines, Iowa and represented the USA at the Pan America Games in Columbia. He also coached Ashley Marshall who became the 2015 and 2016 Barbados Nation 100 M Champion and National meet record holder. Ashley continued the following Summer to represent Barbados at the Pan American Games and the World Championships as well as other international meets. Ashley continues to train withcSmith as she prepares for the 2020 Olympic Games.
In 2012, Smith led the Tigers to a second place finish at the State Championships and also coached the women’s 4 x 400 M Relay to a state title. From 2011 - 2019, Smith’s women’s teams have won nine consecutive track and field conference championships. Previously, there was never a repeat season of Conference titles. In 2014, his cross country team won its first Orange Empire Conference Championship for 1991, breaking the 18 year winning streak of cross country powerhouse Orange Coast College. The Tigers repeated that same feat from 2015 - 2017.
Prior to becoming Riverside women’s head coach, he was honored as the top assistant track coach at the California Community College level in 2008. The California Community College Track and Field Association honored him at their state convention. As an assistant coach, Smith was primarily responsible for the Sprinters and Strength & Conditioning of the program.
During his time as coach, the RCC program has seen athletes earn scholarships to major universities and have produced over 103 individual and 40 relay conference champions in just the sprints area alone. There have been many state and national champions as well. In addition, Smith has had eighteen conference championship titles that included both the men and women winning titles at the same meet nine times. RCC sprinters consistently achieved personal records at the Orange Empire Conference meet. They achieved nineteen in 2007, eight in 2008, eight in 2011, and eleven in 2012 to mention a few. Coach Smith has coached 46 individual All-Americans and 31 All-American relay teams in his 11 years with RCC. Among his All-American runners Smith was responsible for some incredible progressions with athletes he coached. Just’N Thymes went from 10.69/21.35 to 10.18/ 20.42; Yusef Merriweather 11.02/ 22.20 to 10.29/20.84; Daniel Auberry 10.91/ 22.03 to 10.29/ 20.86; Breanna Arnwine 59.98 to 55.02; Brandi Rodrigues 66.1 to 57.3; Tiarah McDaniel went from 12.93 to 11.96/ 26.56 to 24.66 and Maia Reynolds went from 12.10 to 11.64 in one year to mention a few. In 2019, Smith coached the #1 and 2 runners in the State. Antoino Mitchell 10.12 (National JC Leader) and Jabriel Smith (Freshman) at 10.34. Smith 4x100 meter relay was also #1 in the nation with a time of 39.69.
His resume was impressive when he joined the staff at Riverside. Smith has eighteen years of coaching experience; sixteen which come from the collegiate level. He also has coached youth and high school. Before joining the Tiger staff, he coached as a volunteer at Huston-Tillotson University, UNLV, and UCR. In 2004 as an assistant at North High School, he helped the program win a CIF Championship and achieve a ranking of No. 4 in the state. He has coached several high school state and national champions and assisted programs in achieving top-notch rankings.
Smith also had an impressive running resume. A former high school UIL State (Texas) champion in the 400 meters, Smith set the school record and a state leading mark with a time of 46.22 in the 400m. This same season, he posted one of the fastest 4x400 relay splits in high school history with a 44.89 time, helping his team set a school record in the 4x400m relay. Smith also anchored the fastest 4x100m relay team in the nation in 1995 with a time of 40.32. At one point in his high school career he was ranked number one in the state of Texas and in the nation for the 100 (10.18) and 200 meters (20.66). His time in the 400 meters was also the third fastest time in the nation. He has trained with some of the most talented sprinters in the history of USA Track and Field - Michael Johnson, Jon Drummond and former Tiger Tyree Washington. He eventually received a scholarship to Baylor University where his success continued. He was a conference champion and qualified for the 1996 Olympic trials in the 100 meters. While at Baylor he ran leadoff leg on a team that set a world record in the mile relay (4x4 on Metric track) which still stands today. He also earned All-American honors.
Smith completed his undergraduate degree in Exercise Science at California Baptist University. He also earned his Master’s in Coaching and Athletic Administration from Concordia Irvine, and has completed the first two levels of the USA Track and Field Certification program with an emphasis in sprints, hurdles, and relays.
As Women’s Head Coach
- 2010 Conference runner up for Cross Country
- 2014 Conference Champions for Cross Country
- 2015 Conference Champions for Cross Country
- 2011 - 2019 Conference Champions for Track and Field (1st time RCC Women won back to back conference championships since 1994)
- 2012 CCCAA State runner-up (best finish since 1994)
- 3rd place at CCCAA State Championships in 2013
- 3rd place at CCCAA State Championships in 2014
- 3rd place at CCCAA State Championships in 2015
- 2nd place at CCCAA State Championships in 2016
- 3rd place at CCCAA State Championships in 2018
- 4th place at CCCAA Cross Country State Championships in 2015
- 2016 CCCAA State runner-up (2nd Place)
- 2014, 2015, 2016, & 2017 OEC Cross Country Coach of the Year
- 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 ,2019 OEC Track & Field Coach of the Year
- 2015 Press Enterprise Inland Empire Coach of the Year
- 2016 Viewpoints Coach of the Year
- 2016 Riverside City College Coach of the Year
- 2nd Place at CCCAA State Championships 2019
- 2019 California CCCAA Women’s Coach of the Year
As Sprint Coach to the Men’s Program
- 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010,2011,2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016-2019 Conference Champions (07’,09,’11-19’ men and women won)
- 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2019 Regional Champions
- 2008, 2009, 2010 ,2012, 2013, 2014, 2019 State Champions
- California Community College Assistant Coach of the year 2008
As Strength & Conditioning Coach to the Men’s Basketball Program
- 2009 State Champions
Taisyn Crutchfield 2012 Youth USA Jr. National 200m Champion
Just’N Thymes : 2013 USA Jr Nationals 200m Champion in Des Moines, Iowa
Ashley Marshall: 2015 and 2016 Barbados National 100m Champion and National meet record holder.
*Jabriel Smith: 2019 USATF U20 Jr. National 100m Finalist.