Marist High School Principal Larry Tucker ‘79 announced Tuesday that Stephen Smithers has been named athletic director beginning July 1.
Smithers comes to Marist from Alleman Catholic High School in Rock Island, Ill., and brings with him more than 20 years of administrative and coaching experience. “We are thrilled to bring someone into this position who first, understands the mission of Catholic education, and second, has a wealth of personal and professional experience that we feel confident will further strengthen our athletic program,” Tucker said. “Stephen understands the opportunities and challenges that exist in today’s high school athletics world, and will be invaluable in guiding Marist.”
Smithers has served Alleman as athletic director since 2005, and also coached basketball for the school from 2005 to 2009, where teams garnered 18 titles in 10 different sports, and earned nine Illinois High School Association (IHSA) state trophies. Before that, he spent one year as athletic director and basketball coach at Assumption Catholic in Davenport, Iowa. From 1994 to 2004, Smithers worked for St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa, as a corporate relations representative and assistant men’s basketball coach.
Smithers says that aside from leadership and management skills, the athletic director is charged with being a crucial communicator for the school, whether that be with coaches, administration, parents, the IHSA, media personnel or others. He looks forward to building strong working relationships in and out of the school to ensure the vitality and health of the athletic department.
Smithers will move to the area this summer, making this an important professional and personal decision. “Marist is one of the strongest, most respected Catholic high schools in the state,” he explained. “It’s a privilege to have the opportunity to lead its athletic program.” Smithers states he is also impressed by the East Suburban Catholic Conference (ESCC), in which Marist competes. “It is highly competitive,” he said. “ESCC teams are known around Illinois, and have perennial success.”
Smithers will oversee 26 athletic programs that serve Marist’s 1,700 students, and a campus that includes a turf stadium lined for football, soccer, and lacrosse, grass soccer field, varsity and lower level fields for softball and baseball, tennis courts, three gymnasiums, and a 4,000 square foot fitness center. “It’s a challenging position that requires time and talent,” explained Tucker. “We are eager to have Stephen start and take charge of our program, which we know is second to none.”
In recent years, Marist has garnered state titles in softball in 2012 and 2015. Football finished second in state in 2009 and 2015. Wrestling finished second in state in 2014. Cheerleading finished second in state in 2013. Wrestling, volleyball, softball, baseball, track and others have also captured conference, regional, and sectional titles. Individual athletes have also advanced and placed at the state level in a variety of sports. Marist competes in the highest IHSA classes.