ANDERSON, S.C. – Anderson University head volleyball coach Todd Hay on Friday announced that former Wingate standout Tyler Smith has been named as an assistant coach for the Trojans.
"Tyler is someone I have known for a while as a player and club coach," said Hay. "She worked as a color analyst during our NCAA Tournament appearance last year and we reconnected. As I began my search for a new assistant coach, her name was the very first one suggested to me by a good friend in the Charlotte area. As soon as she mentioned Tyler, I knew she was someone I needed to interview right away. The AU volleyball program is blessed to have her join our staff."
A middle blocker, Smith helped lead the Bulldogs to 123 victories, four South Atlantic Conference titles and a pair of NCAA Elite Eight appearances during her collegiate career (2013-16). She played in 66 matches while at Wingate, accumulating 234 kills and 44 blocks. As a junior, Smith finished third in the conference in blocks per set (1.03/set) and 11th with a .250 hitting percentage. Off the court, the Aiken, S.C., native was a Presidential Scholarship recipient and was a member of the National Honor Society.
After graduating from Wingate in 2017, Smith began her coaching career at Gaston Day School in Gastonia, N.C., serving as head coach for the junior varsity squad and as an assistant for the varsity team. While helping lead the Spartan volleyball program, she also served as an English teacher for a semester.
Smith worked at AmWINS Group in Charlotte, N.C., in 2018 doing data management and internal sales support, while also coaching club volleyball at Carolina Union Volleyball Club.
"Throughout my time coaching at Gaston Day and CUVC, I began to develop a passion for the game in a completely new light," said Smith. "Being on the sidelines and in practices and seeing players improve little by little every day until tasks that they previously thought were outside of their ability become almost second nature has been incredibly rewarding for me. I knew that I wanted to expand my knowledge as a coach so that I foster player growth and development in whatever way I can."
Smith was a First-Team All-State selection and First-Team All-District player as a captain of her Aiken High School team and helped lead the team to the South Carolina state finals. Smith played club volleyball for Magnum.
"Tyler brings a strong knowledge of the game and is passionate about seeing players improve," added Hay. "I observed her coaching style this past club season and was impressed by her demeanor and interaction with her players. I know our players will enjoy playing for her and learning from her experiences as a player and a coach."
"I'm very excited to be here at Anderson to assist Coach Hay with the volleyball program and to further my education through the university's master's program," added Smith. "From playing in the South Atlantic Conference, I know firsthand that Anderson is highly respected across the conference for not only being competitive in athletics, but also for the value of the education the school provides. The team has had great success in the past couple of seasons under Coach Hay, and I consider myself very blessed to have the opportunity to learn a new system and expand my knowledge for the game that I am so passionate about."
Smith earned a bachelor's degree in communications, with an emphasis in journalism, from Wingate in 2017.