Caryl Smith Gilbert
It didn't take long for Caryl Smith Gilbert to prove that USC had "hit a home run" when they named her as the Director of Track & Field on June 17, 2013. In her first season at the helm of the Trojan program, she guided the men's team to a fourth-place tie and the women's team to a 16th-place tie at the NCAAs, the women's team won the MPSF Indoor Championship and both men's and women's teams placed second at the Pac-12 Championships. Also, USC garnered 28 first-team All-America honors, posted 22 all-time top 10 school marks and Aleec Harris set the school hurdles record. It is no surprise then that she was named the NCAA West Region Women's Head Coach of the Year (Indoor and Outdoor) and the MPSF (Indoor) Women's Head Coach of the Year. Smith Gilbert's student-athletes also excelled in the classroom where they earned 13 Pac-12 All-Academic selections and Alexandra Collatz was honored as a third-team Academic All-American.
Prior to here arrival at USC, Smith Gilbert was a six-time Conference USA Coach of the Year at the University of Central Florida who guided the Knights' women's team to a program-best fifth place finish at both the 2013 NCAA Track and Field Outdoor and Indoor Championships.
Smith Gilbert succeeded Ron Allice, who led the Trojans for 19 years and retired after the 2013 NCAA Championships.
"We are thrilled to have Caryl join the Trojan Family as our Director of Track and Field for our men's and women's programs," said USC Director of Athletics Pat Haden at the time of her hire. "USC has a glorious track and field tradition and Caryl is the right person to build on that tradition. She is more than ready to take on this position.
"She has a superb history of success in her career. She knows how to develop athletes, as evidenced by the steady improvement of her UCF program and the number of records her athletes set. She has recruited very well and knows the recruiting landscape in California. And her athletes have performed incredibly well academically."
Smith Gilbert, 45, spent the past six seasons (2008-13) at UCF overseeing the women's track and field and cross country programs after serving as an assistant at Tennessee, Alabama and Penn State.
During her UCF tenure, the Knights won six Conference USA track and field outdoor and indoor crowns. Her athletes were named All-Americans more than 100 times and set more than 100 school records. Academically, her team's GPA exceeded 3.0 nearly every term. She also oversaw the building of the on-campus UCF Cross Country Complex.
In 2013, UCF's fifth place showing at the NCAA outdoor meet was the best finish by a non-BCS team since 2000 and its 35 points more than doubled the previous program best. She was named the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association South Region Coach of the Year for a fifth time in 2013 as she guided UCF to its first-ever outdoor national Top 10 ranking in the USTFCCCA poll. She was the only coach to have three 100 meter runners ranked among the Top 10-seeded qualifiers at the NCAA meet. Twelve school records were broken in the 2013 outdoor season while the team won its fourth-straight C-USA title, a feat unmatched by any other women's track and field program in conference history. Octavious Freeman was the C-USA Outdoor Track Athlete of the Year for the second consecutive year.
UCF also finished fifth at the 2013 NCAA indoor meet, as C-USA Indoor Track Athlete of the Year Aurieyall Scott won the 60-meter dash to become the school's first NCAA champion in any sport.
UCF's eighth place finish at the 2012 NCAA indoor meet was the program's best at the time. UCF won the C-USA outdoor title and capped the season by sending four Knights to compete at the USA Olympic Trials (Scott was one of two collegiate athletes who advanced to the finals of the 200 meters). At the 2012 London Olympics, Smith Gilbert trained U.S. Olympian DeeDee Trotter to her third appearance in the Summer Games and her first individual Olympic medal (a bronze), as well as a second gold medal on the 4x400 relay. In 2011, UCF swept the indoor and outdoor C-USA titles as Jackie Coward was named C-USA Track Athlete of the Year and UCF's first two-time All-America first teamer. Smith Gilbert was C-USA's outdoor and indoor Coach of the Year.
She led the 2010 Knights to the C-USA Outdoor championship. Coward became UCF's first NCAA Outdoor All-American (she was fourth in the 100-meter hurdles).
In Smith Gilbert's first two seasons at UCF, 2008 and 2009, her athletes broke 30 of the school's indoor and outdoor school records. She also served as the jumps and multi events coach of Team USA at the 2009 IAAF World Outdoor Championships in Berlin.
Smith Gilbert came to UCF after five seasons (2003-07) as an assistant coach at Tennessee, where she was responsible for coaching sprints, hurdles and jumps. Her Lady Vol athletes won three NCAA titles and seven Southeastern Conference championships and earned 53 NCAA Division I All-America honors. They also established 19 school records.
The 2005 Lady Vols won the school's first NCAA Indoor Championship as her group combined for 24 All-America honors and seven school records. She was named U.S. Track Coaches Association National and Mideast Region Assistant Coach of the Year for sprints and hurdles. She was responsible for the development of Trotter, the 2007 USA Indoor and Outdoor Champion and a 2004 gold medalist in the 4x400-meter relay. She also coached Tianna Madison, who won the 2005 world championship in the long jump, Cleo Tyson, who won the 100-meter dash and helped the U.S. 4x100 relay team earn gold at the North America, Central America and Caribbean Athletic Association (NACAC) Championships, and Toyin Olupona, the 2005 Canadian National Champion in the 100-meter dash and the two-time NCAA runner-up in the 60-meter dash.
Smith Gilbert also helped the Lady Vols win SEC Indoor Championships in 2005 and 2007 and an NCAA Mideast Regional outdoor crown in 2005. The Lady Vols finished in the top four at the 2004, 2005 and 2007 NCAA Indoor Championships.
Smith Gilbert was an assistant coach at Alabama for three years (2000-02), guiding athletes in the sprints, hurdles and jumps. During her tenure with the Crimson Tide, she produced seven NCAA Division I All-Americans and four USA Olympic Trials qualifiers.
She held similar responsibilities as an assistant at Penn State for two seasons (1998-99). Her Nittany Lion athletes accumulated four All-America honors and nine school records, and made the finals at the Big Ten Championships on 10 occasions. She also served the school as an instructor for the exercise science department.
Prior to becoming a collegiate coach, Smith Gilbert was the head coach for four seasons (1994-97) at her prep alma mater, George Washington High in Denver. Her program produced two state titles, three All-America selections and five athletes who accepted full scholarships to NCAA Division I schools.
In addition to her experience at the high school and collegiate levels, Smith Gilbert was an assistant with Team USA during the NACAC Championships and was invited to coach the sprints at the 2005 Pan Am Junior Championships. She also was selected as an assistant coach for the 2007 World Championships in Osaka, Japan.
A former indoor national record holder in the 55- and 60-meter dashes, Smith Gilbert was a two-time Colorado state champion in the 200-meter dash and long jump and a three-time state champion in the 100-meter dash as a prep standout. She set state records in each of those three events.
She went on to become a three-time All-American at UCLA, where she was a Pac-10 champion in the 100-meter dash, 4x100-meter relay and 4x400-meter relay. She was part of an NCAA Championship runner-up 4x400-meter squad and was an All-American in the 4x100-meter relay in 1988 and 1989.
A 1991 graduate of UCLA, Smith Gilbert holds a bachelor's degree in film and television production. She also holds master's degrees in sport management and sport psychology from Tennessee. She is a 2006 USATF Level III Coaches Education Clinician.
Born on April 19, 1969, she is married to former NFL linebacker Greg Gilbert. They have three sons: Alex, Spencer and Osiris.