PDT Sports Writer
One of Scioto County’s greatest coaching minds has decided to call it a career.
In a release Monday, Shawnee State women’s basketball coach Robin Hagen-Smith announced her retirement after 30 seasons on the bench. Jeff Nickel, who assumed the roles of interim coach earlier this year when Hagen-Smith took a leave of absence, will once again become the interim head coach when Hagen-Smith’s retirement becomes official Apr. 30. Hagen-Smith will stay with the school as an instructor.
“It has been an honor and privilege to coach the Bears for the past 30 years,” Hagen-Smith said in a release, “I am so proud to have been associated with Shawnee State University, the NAIA and most recently the Mid-South Conference. I have enjoyed the wonderful relationships with players, staff, faculty, administration, fans, Golden Bears, opposing coaches, and officials and want to thank them for the support they have given me and our basketball program.”
The storied career of Hagen-Smith reads like a novel as she finished with a combined overall mark of 713-213 in the NJCAA and NAIA levels. Her 637-131 mark on the NAIA level made her the active wins leader in the association.
In the past 20 seasons, the Shawnee State program made the NAIA postseason tournament, either on the Division I or II level, 18 times. The highlight came in the 1998-99 season when the Bears finished their 31-2 season with the Division II National Championship.
During her tenure, Hagen-Smith has been inducted into the South Webster, Shawnee State, Rio Grande, NAIA and Ohio Basketball Halls of Fame. She was named conference coach of the year on six occasions.
While Hagen-Smith paced the sidelines through the years, her husband Gregg was also on the sidelines as an assistant coach. In the statement, she felt being with family was one of the reasons why she has decided to hang it up.
On Jan. 25, the university announced Hagen-Smith and her husband would take a leave of absence. She returned Feb. 18 after SSU went 5-1 under Nickel. The Bears were eliminated by Oklahoma City University 56-54 in the second round of the NAIA Division I tournament to finish the season with a 24-10 mark.
“Robin has been a pillar for the Shawnee State athletic department for a long time and we greatly appreciate all she has done and meant for the Bears,” SSU athletic director and men’s basketball coach Jeff Hamilton said in the same release. “It has been a real honor to work alongside her for these past 12 years. I have learned a lot from Robin about coaching basketball, as well as integrity, professionalism and character that go way beyond the hardwood.
“She has become a close personal friend throughout our years working together. We want to wish her the very best as she steps away from the game.”
Cody Leist can be reached at 353-3101, ext. 294, or firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking sports updates, follow Cody on Twitter @CodyLeist.