Apr 19, 2012 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports EditorLynn Smith started coaching Central Wyoming College women's rodeo team in the 2000 season, building her squad a Central Rocky Mountain Region title contender every year.
Smith will complete her time at CWC in June at the College National Finals Rodeo, then move to Cochise College in Arizona to be in charge of the women's program. Husband Rick Smith is taking the men's job there (see related story).
"We have had a lot of memories here at CWC and a lot of good times," Smith said. "The kids are what is hard to leave. It's not the place. The kids are the ones that make it. They leave so often anyone way. The friendships will still stay."
Smith broke in with CWC as a competitor in 1998, winning when she won three national titles at the College National Finals Rodeo in goat tying, breakaway roping and all-around.
Smith has seen former CWC cowgirls Jessica Picchietti (2009/breakaway roping) and Daysha Hulme (2004/breakaway roping) win national titles at the CNFR
The CWC women finished 10th in the nation in 2009 and third in 2004.
The Rustlers were 10th in 2003.
The Rustlers won the Central Rocky Mountain Regional title in 2005, 2003, 2002 and 2001.
CWC was runner-up in 20011, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2004 and 2000.
The Central Wyoming College women are in a battle for the 2012 Central Rocky Mountain Regional title with Northeastern Junior College and Gillette College.
The Rustlers are first (2,465 points) with two rodeos left.
"I hope this drama that they are going through here with the change of coaches doesn't effect their focus," Rick Smith said.
"The first thing they need to do is win the regional championship. We haven't done that in five years."
Northeastern Junior College is second (1,933.33 points) and Gillette College is third (1,900 points).
CWC will take part Friday through Sunday in a rodeo hosted by Casper College.
"Both Rick and Lynn Smith have meant a lot to the college and the community," CWC vice-president of academic services Jason Wood said.
"They have done a fabulous job to the program. They built it from the ground up. Students have been successful in the classroom. I couldn't be more excited for their opportunity."
Wood said CWC will name an interim head coach so the Rustlers can sign athletes for the next season.
Wood is in charge of finding a new coach.
"The goal is not to replace them, but find someone that can build on what they have established and take us to the next level," Wood said.
"We should have an announcement in the next few days on who our interim coach will be.
"We are establishing a search committee," Wood continued. "We will involve the booster club in the search process. We hope to move forward and get someone in place as soon as possible, but also allowing us to do a real good job of getting the word across the country.
We expect it to be a national search to find the best coach to lead our program."
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