COLUMBIA — Weeks before Missouri enters the SEC, Missouri wrestling coach Brian Smith signed a five-year contract extension announced Friday.
The extension is significant because the SEC does not sponsor a wrestling league. The Missouri team will wrestle an independent schedule next season.
“We’re very happy to be able to announce this for Coach Smith and the rest of the Missouri wrestling program,” Missouri Athletics Director Mike Alden said. “Brian and his staff have turned Mizzou wrestling into one of the nation’s elite programs, and we look forward to many more years of success under his watch at Missouri.”
Already the longest-tenured head coach in the history of Missouri wrestling, the 2012-13 season will mark Smith’s 15th since taking over for Wes Roper in 1998. In that time, the Tigers have seen unprecedented success both on the mat and in the classroom, crowning four national champions, 26 All-Americans, 14 Academic All-Americans and 40 Academic All-Conference honorees.
The contract is a five-year deal lasting through the 2016-17 season, with a one-year automatic extension for the 2017-18 campaign that would kick in on May 1, 2013.
“The most important thing about this extension is the statement it makes about the program’s future,” Smith said. “The administration, the coaching staff, and the student-athletes have helped build something special, and the department is committed to helping the program continue their quest for a National Championship.”