TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - School may be out for the summer, but Michael Smith is far from taking a vacation.
As the new interim Director of Athletics at Florida A&M enters his office, there's a stack of papers waiting for his signature and an inbox full of emails waiting for his reply.
"It's been real busy," Smith says of his first three weeks on the job. "Lots of meetings, telephone conversations, just individuals and other people interested in the program wanting to know how they can help where we're going, what we're doing, and the success of the athletics program."
Smith once had an even more direct hand in the success of FAMU athletics as a kick returner and wide receiver on the Rattlers' football team in the early 1980s. Since then, he's worked for more than 20 years with the university, and this current stint as interim A.D. is his second time in that role. For more than eight months of 2010, Smith had the same interim role, bridging the gap between Directors of Athletics Bill Hayes and Derek Horne.
"(During that time), I learned that athletics is very dynamic in a lot of ways," says Smith. "You need to take the expertise of your staff and your coaches into consideration as you're moving the program along."
"If we've given them the responsibility to lead and guide those programs, then we need to include them in the thought process we go through to make decisions so that we can make sure they have a hand in the outcome of what we're doing."
One outcome any college athletics program hopes to achieve is academic success, but several Rattler teams have struggled in the classroom in recent years. Be on the lookout for part two of this FAMU Athletics series in which we will address the specific teams under NCAA academic sanctions and what steps Smith and the athletics department are taking to combat those academic deficiencies.