John Smith

John Smith

Assistant Professor

Track & Field Head Coach


A native of Lakeside, Ore., Smith was a football and track athlete at North Bend (Ore.) High School, earning all-state and district honors in both sports and setting a school record in the triple jump. Coming to George Fox in 1992, he changed his focus from the jumps to the challenges of the decathlon. He was a national qualifier in the decathlon three times and twice in the pole vault, claiming NAIA All-America status in the decathlon in both 1994 and 1995. At the time of graduation, he held top-10 marks in eight events at George Fox, including a school record in the decathlon (7,138 points) during his junior year which still stands.

After completing his bachelor’s degree in health and human performance (fitness management emphasis) in 1996, Smith continued to compete and earned a U.S. national ranking in the decathlon. While competing for Oregon International, he won the University of Oregon Invitational and took second at the Rocky Mountain Invitational in the decathlon before a career-ending injury sidelined him from the sport. Realizing that his true dedication to the sport would best be served coaching and mentoring athletes, he began coaching the jumps and multi-events and worked to earn a master’s degree in sport science, which he completed in 2003.

Returning to George Fox as an assistant coach in 1998, Smith worked primarily with the Bruins’ jumps, javelin, and multi-event athletes. Under his tutelage, the Bruins had the NCAA Division III national runner-up in the decathlon (Ben Dillow) and the women’s high jump (Michelle Forbes) in 2005. The team followed that up with three All-American decathletes (Seth Harris, fifth; Josh Priester, seventh; and Ryan Forbes, eighth) in 2006. The jumps group earned multiple Northwest Conference championships in the long jump (six), triple jump (six), and high jump (three). Smith had 31 NCAA Division III national meet qualifiers, three national runner-ups, and 12 All-Americans during his stint as an assistant.

Smith resides in Newberg, Ore., and is married to former Bruin track and cross country All-American Dawn Hartwig, also a 1996 George Fox graduate. John and Dawn have three children, Davis (17), Jaci (15), and Blake (13). In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his family and pursuing his hobby of surfing and building surfboards.