Jan. 9, 2009

Courtesy of Delaware

NEWARK, Del. -- Former All-American Alex Smith, who rewrote the University of Delaware and NCAA record books as the top faceoff specialist in the history of college lacrosse, has joined the Blue Hen coaching staff as a volunteer assistant coach.

Smith, who now plays professionally with the Rochester Rattlers in Major League Lacrosse and works in private business in the Baltimore area, will join the UD staff that includes head coach Bob Shillinglaw, associate head coach Greg Carroll, and assistant coach Chris Collins.

"Our coaching staff and players are excited to have Alex working with the team and to the specific area of facing off," said Shillinglaw, who will begin his 31st season at the helm of the Blue Hens and his 34th season overall as a head coach. "The energy and enthusiasm he brings to our program and practice will be a major plus for the upcoming season. His winning attitude, leadership and focus to detail is an inspiration to all those who come in contact with him."

A native of Timonium, Md., Smith earned his degree from Delaware in 2007 following a stellar four-year career that saw him earn All-American honors three times, lead the Blue Hens to two NCAA Tournament appearances, including a first-ever berth in the NCAA Final Four in 2007, and set numerous school and NCAA records for faceoffs and groundballs.

Smith earned U.S. Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association All-American honors for the third straight year in 2007, earning second team honors after being named an honorable mention pick in both 2005 and 2006. He is just the fourth Delaware player to earn All-American honors three times, joining Steve Shaw (1984-86), Randy Powers (1984-86), and Anthony DiMarzo (1993-95), and is just the sixth to earn second team All-American honors.

Smith finished his career as the greatest faceoff specialist in the history of the college game as he virtually rewrote the NCAA record book. He led the nation in faceoff winning percentage for the third straight season in 2007 as he won 311 of 430 attempts for a 72.3 percentage and also led the country with a school-record 170 groundballs (8.95 per game). He also scored five goals and dished out three assists on the season despite only playing on faceoff situations.

He established NCAA records for faceoffs won in a season (311 in 2007) and career (1,027), faceoffs attempted in a season (430 in 2007) and career (14,84), groundballs in a career (553), and faceoff pct. in a game (1.000, 21 for 21 vs. Manhattan, 2006). He won 50 percent or better of his faceoffs in 61 of his UD record 69 career games. He is one of only seven players in UD history to earn all-conference honors all four years and was named the 2007 CAA Player of the Year and 2007 CAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player.

Smith led the Blue Hens to the finest season in school history in 2007 when Delaware posted a 13-6 overall record, captured the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament title, and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for just the fourth time in school history. The 15th-ranked Blue Hens advanced to the NCAA Final Four for the first time in school history as they defeated defending national champion Virginia 14-8 in the first round and UMBC 10-6 in the quarterfinals. Delaware's improbable run came to an end with an 8-3 loss to No. 3 seed Johns Hopkins in the NCAA semifinals March 26.

Delaware, which went 9-7 in 2008 and advanced to the CAA semifinals, has posted five straight winning season. The Blue Hens, led by the return of All-American attackman Curtis Dickson, will open the 2009 season Feb. 7 at home vs. Saint Joseph's. Delaware will be looking to set a school record with its sixth straight winning campaign.