COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Joel R. Smith, current Chadron State College Athletic Director and former Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference commissioner, received the 2018 RMAC Women’s Basketball Officiating Legacy Lifetime Achievement Award.
To be considered for this award, an individual must have shown a passion, dedication, and steadfast allegiance to women’s basketball and officiating during the course of their lifetime. They also must have demonstrated outstanding abilities, contributions and left a positive legacy for future generations of officials, and demonstrated high moral character, outstanding citizenship, and ideals.
Individuals must be nominated, and nominations are submitted to the Legacy Committee, who vote on the recipient. The winner is honored at the annual RMAC Banquet.
Joel was the RMAC Commissioner for 12 years, from 2001 until 2013, when he was hired as the Athletic Director for Chadron State. In his time with the conference office, he was instrumental in securing championship sites for the RMAC Basketball Shootout. He negotiated live television coverage of the RMAC basketball championship games, brokered a broadcast agreement with Altitude Sports and Entertainment, and developed and administered over $400,000 in grant resources and developed corporate partnerships to generate additional revenue for the conference. He also implemented the RMAC Hall of Fame in 2002.
Prior to his time at the conference office, Smith was the Athletic Director at Fort Lewis College from 1996 to 2001 and the Director of Athletic Development and Assistant Athletic Director at Metropolitan State College of Denver (now MSU Denver) from 1985 to 1996. He made significant improvements to the athletic budgets and corporate partnership programs at both institutions.
In addition, he was active within the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) serving on several committees, including the regional advisory committees for football, baseball, and men’s basketball. He was the chair of the NCAA West Regional Baseball Committee as well as a member of the Division II Championships committee and the D-II Television Task Force. Smith was the Vice President of the Division II Collegiate Commissioners Association and President of the Colorado chapter of the National Football Foundation. He also coached numerous youth sporting events and was the Cubmaster of Cub Scout Pack 217 in Monument, Colorado.
A Canon City, Colorado native, Smith graduated from Westminster High School in Denver, Colorado in 1977 before enrolling at Colorado State University in Fort Collins. He transferred to Metro State in the mid-1980s and received his bachelor’s degree in 1987. Smith earned his master’s degree from Regis University in 1996.
He is currently married to the former Catherine Klazura, whom he met at Metro State. They have six children.
Former Regis University women’s head basketball coach, Linda Raunig was also a recipient of the RMAC Women’s Basketball Officiating Legacy Award.
Raunig coached the Rangers for 25 seasons until she announced her retirement in 2015. She guided the Rangers to 18 post-season conference appearances (four in the Colorado Athletic Conference, 15 in the RMAC Shootout), five NCAA Tournament appearances, and to this day, is the Rangers’ most winningest women’s basketball coach with 404 wins.
Both Joel and Linda are RMAC two individuals who served as trailblazers, mentors, and have made a huge impact in women’s basketball and officiating.