Dan Smith was a men’s golfer for Belmont from 2007-2011. He played in 36 events over four seasons and posted 16 top-20 finishes and four top-10s. He currently ranks in the top-10 in Belmont’s Division I era in career stroke average and was the first male recipient of the Betty Wiseman Inspiration Award. Smith recently spoke with BelmontBruins.com about his time at Belmont and his globetrotting life working with Nike in their London sports marketing office, including working this year's Summer Olympics in Rio.
Why did you choose Belmont?
As an international student athlete there was a lot to consider as I explored the prospect of moving from England to the US to advance my studies. Belmont offered the perfect balance of sport and academia but ultimately it was the people that made the real difference. I came for a visit in 2006 and really clicked with the players and the coaches and from there it just felt like the right fit.
What is your fondest athletic memory at Belmont?
Tough question! As an athlete the A-Sun Championships was always the big one and in my senior year I had a great experience playing and competing in my final Championships. I captained the team, played great and we placed as high as we had done in that event as a team in my 4 years there. My dad had also travelled from England to watch the event so that was a special week for me in many ways.
Who had the biggest influence on you during your athletic career at Belmont and how?
The late Coach Billy Henry was a huge inspiration to me both on the golf course and in the classroom during my time at Belmont; the lessons that he taught me as an individual are ones that I will always carry with me. The golf was always important but for Coach Henry it was more about the person on the end of the club, he made sure he got the most out of every member of the team and really understood them for who they were. He has been a hugely positive influence on my life.
What is the most valuable thing you gained or learned from your time at Belmont?
Relationships – golf is a selfish sport by nature but my time at Belmont taught me that you are only as successful as those people around you. Surround yourself with positive, likeminded people and the results that you can achieve as a group will far exceed anything you could achieve on your own.
What advice would you give to current members of the golf team?
You guys and girls are smashing it, keep working hard, keep enjoying what you are doing and don’t take it for granted. As I watch from afar I’m incredibly proud to call myself a Bruin Golfer, albeit a slightly older one now!
Who was your favorite professor and why?
I had a great experience in the Business School and academia was always high up the priority list for me. I tried to approach my studies with a similar approach to my golf; work hard but enjoy it. I always looked forward Cate Loes classes, she was one of my senior marketing professors, I felt that she embodied these traits in the way that she taught her classes and everyone always seemed to have fun.
Where do you live now?
I’m back in Blighty as they say over here in England! More specifically I live in Battersea, South London. It’s about 2 hours away from where I grew up on the South Coast and London as a city and place to live is tough to beat. There’s so much going on, so much to experience and I’m even managing to keep up my golf! If you haven’t visited London before be sure to add it to the bucket list!
What is your occupation?
I’m incredibly lucky to be working for Nike in their London office in Soho. I work in Sponsorship specially, or Sports Marketing as we tag it internally, and deal with athlete, club and federation relationships primarily in the sports of Track & Field, Tennis, Rugby and Basketball. It was the dream job for me growing up and it’s everything that I thought it would be, I get to travel the world working in an area that I’m hugely passionate about for a company that is hugely passionate about it. I’m currently on my way back from our footwear innovation launch in NYC and will be in Rio for 4 weeks through the summer for the 2016 Olympic Games!
Tell us about your family.
3 wonderful sisters and an incredibly caring mum and dad, I was lucky enough to became an uncle for the first time last May and am enjoying that experience beyond anything else. For me, as I’m sure it is for many, family is the main driver and I’m happy to report that they are all fit and well and send their love to everyone at Belmont!
Belmont Till I Die!