Smith to lead men's golf program

One of the top assistant coaches in the nation will be heading the Mississippi State men's golf program as Director of Athletics John Cohen tabbed Vanderbilt assistant Dusty Smith as the Bulldogs' eighth head coach.

"First, I want to thank John Cohen for giving me this opportunity. I appreciate him believing in our vision to build a championship program in Starkville, and I am eager to get to work to accomplish our goals," Smith said. "I feel extremely blessed to be the next head coach at Mississippi State -- it is not a position I take lightly. Janie and I are thrilled to be a part of the Starkville community and the Mississippi State family. We look forward to building a program of excellence that we will all be proud of."

This season Smith and head coach Scott Limbaugh took Vanderbilt to a program-record fourth consecutive NCAA Championship, where it won the stroke play portion of the championship by 12 shots and advanced to the semifinals of match play. Vandy recorded its third-straight appearance in match play and is the only SEC team currently on that stretch.

The Commodores advanced to the NCAA Championship in Sugar Grove, Ill., after tying for second place in the College Grove (Tenn.) Regional and capturing the program's first SEC Championship.

"We are excited to welcome Dusty, Janie and Ella to the Bulldog family," Cohen said. "Integrity, work ethic, recruiting prowess and student-athlete development were of the utmost importance throughout our search for a new men's golf coach. We feel Dusty fits all of these criteria."

Since joining Vanderbilt in 2011, Smith has assisted the Commodores to 12 team tournament titles, with 10 players earning individual medalist honors. While at Vanderbilt, seven of his golfers earned All-America status, including three first-team selections. He also tutored 11 players to All-SEC accolades, with four earning first-team honors.

Smith and Limbaugh also had three Vandy players named to the Palmer Cup, while another was selected to play in the Walker Cup. The duo also coached the Commodores' first SEC Player of the Year -- Hunter Stewart -- and the program's first SEC Freshman of the Year, John Augenstein.

Stewart and another of Smith's players, Matthias Schwab, went on to earn exemptions into PGA Tour events.

The outstanding 2016-17 campaign came after the Commodores finished both 2015 and 2016 No. 4 in the final Golfstat rankings. Both of those squads finished four rounds of stroke play at the NCAA Championship in the Top 8 to advance to the match play portion of the event.

The 2007 Lamar graduate made the move to Nashville after spending three seasons as the assistant men's and women's coach at his alma mater.

With the Cardinals, he helped the men's team to the 2009 Southland Conference championship and a second-place finish in 2011. Lamar advanced to an NCAA Regional each of his three seasons.

He helped mentor eight All-Southland Conference Team selections during his time at his alma mater, including the league player of the year M.J. Daffue in 2011.

Under his watch, the Lady Cardinals earned six tournament victories, including a second-place showing at the 2011 Southland Conference Tournament. Five women's golfers earned All-SLC accolades in his three seasons, while Therese Nilsson and Stine Pedersen were named Southland Student-Athlete of the Year in 2009 and 2011, respectively.

The success he experienced as a coach carried over from a sensational playing career that saw him earn Ping All-America honors and three All-Southland Conference selections while guiding the Cardinals to four-consecutive NCAA Regionals and a pair of NCAA Championship berths.

The Woodlands, Texas, native earned All-America accolades as a junior as he tied for 10th individually and helped Lamar to a tie for ninth at the NCAA Championship in Sunriver, Ore.

As a senior, he notched All-SLC honors for the third time as the Cardinals went on to post the program's best NCAA Championship finish with a tie for third in Williamsburg, Va.

Smith inked with Lamar after a stellar prep career at The Woodlands High School that included a 2002 Class 5A state title.

Smith and his wife, Janie, have a one-year old daughter, Adella Jane.

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