Former Olympic coach becomes new Athletic Director


Katelyn Moore

Julie Smith sits in her new office in the athletic wing

KATELYN MOORE, Staff Writer, Editor

New face, familiar name. Julie Smith, daughter-in-law of Benjamin A. Smith, after whom the GHS field house is named,  is now the new Athletic Director for Gloucester Public Schools.

Growing up in Durham, New Hampshire, Smith spent winters chasing her brother around on the frozen ponds in her hometown. Then a figure skater, she loved the speed skating provided. But, figure skating was more about gracefulness than speed. For this reason, she joined the rag-tag hockey team parents in her town put together for fifth through twelfth graders.

“That was my start in hockey,” said Smith.

Smith’s high school years were spent at Oyster River High School where she played basketball and scored more than 1000 points for her team. Basketball and hockey were not enough for Smith, however. She also played tennis, softball, soccer, field hockey, ran track, and even joined a bowling league.

“I’m pretty much a competitor, or I was when I was a kid,” said Smith. “I was ready to compete in anything you threw me in and I loved it.”

After high school, Smith attended Harvard University where she played soccer and finally got to play on an official women’s ice hockey team.

But in 1990, Smith took her love for hockey to the next level. She attended the first ever open tryouts for the United States Women’s National Ice Hockey and made the team. Her team earned a silver medal in the International Ice Hockey Federation World Championships that year.

“I started coaching almost immediately after,” said Smith. She made her coaching debut in 1991 as head coach for women’s soccer at Cal. State Hayward where she stayed for three seasons. She continued to coach the US Women’s National Hockey team in the Pacific Rim Championships in 1996, according to the Gloucester Daily Times, as well as serving as President of the American Women’s Hockey Coaches Association from 1996-1998.

In 1993, Smith coached Women’s Hockey at Cornell University until 1998 when she became head coach of the women’s ice hockey program for the University of Wisconsin until 2000.

“That was so great because I got to see all these different coaches,” said Smith. “I got to be around all these different coaches from all these different places.”

Smith didn’t stop there.

In 2002, Smith became the assistant women’s ice hockey coach for the olympic games in Salt Lake City, Utah, where the team won a silver medal.

According to the Gloucester Daily Times, in 2003 Smith was inducted into the Harvard Athletics Hall of Fame as well as the New Hampshire Legends of Hockey Hall of Fame in 2012.

Smith has lived in Gloucester for over a decade now, and has a Master’s Degree in counseling and student services. She worked as a social worker for the Department of Children and Families in Lynn and Salem and has also worked in adult foster care as well as Cab Health and Recovery for boys’ addiction.

“I care just as much about the kid who will never make varsity,” said Smith.

Although Smith will not be coaching or teaching at Gloucester High, she hopes to continue the traditions of the Fighting Fishermen community.

“We’re already full of good people who are great role models for our student athletes,” said Smith. “The community already has a huge interest in Gloucester sports. What we bring to that mix is great role models in our student athletes who will be great role models for our kids in elementary schools. We want a positive influence in this community.”