In less than a week, the Kansas State football team has lost two longtime assistant coaches.
This time, Michael Smith is on the way out. Arkansas announced that he is taking over as the Razorbacks’ new receivers coach late Thursday. His departure comes four days after former defensive ends coach Joe Bob Clements took a similar job with Oklahoma State.
Both were surprising moves. Like Clements, Smith was a former Wildcats player. He began serving on Bill Snyder’s staff in 1993 as a student assistant coach and coached running backs from 1997-2005. He returned to K-State with Snyder in 2009 and has been coaching receivers ever since.
During his second stint with the Wildcats, Smith was known as a solid position coach that helped receivers such as Chris Harper, Tyler Lockett and Aubrey Quarles improve once they joined the program. But he was best known for his recruiting skills. He regularly picked up commitments from players as far away as Florida, Louisiana and Georgia. His outgoing personality made him a strong recruiter, though K-State self-reported a secondary violation of NCAA rules last summer that Smith committed relating to excessive phone calls.
Clements also had a knack for recruiting, so whoever Snyder brings in to replace his two former assistants will need to be skilled in that area.
At Arkansas, Smith will work for Bret Bielema, another former K-State assistant.
"During my two seasons at Kansas State, I learned that Michael Smith is one of the masters of the fundamentals of the game," Bielema said in a statement. "As a player, he was part of building the foundation at Kansas State and as a coach he played an instrumental part in one of the greatest turnarounds for a program in the history of college football. He has a proven track record of leading his student-athletes to reach their full potential. He is also a tremendous recruiter who has very strong ties in his hometown of New Orleans.”
Smith earned $210,000 a year before bonuses with K-State.