Caryl Smith Gilbert
DIRECTOR OF TRACK & FIELD, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
Caryl Smith Gilbert begins her eighth season as the Trojan Director of Track & Field, having the 2020 season cut short due to COVID-19 just prior to the indoor championships. In 2019, Smith Gilbert once again demonstrated that she is one of the premier track and field coaches in the country and that USC is one of the elite programs.
In her first seven seasons as the leader of the USC program, Smith Gilbert’s athletes won 20 individual NCAA event titles, earned 184 All-American honors and won 60 Pac-12 individual titles. She led the women’s team to the 2018 NCAA outdoor title and has had the men’s or women’s team finish in the top 10 at the NCAA Indoor or Outdoor Champions 14 times. In addition, USC’s women’s team has won the last two Pac-12 titles and has finished no lower than second and the men’s team has three runner-up finishes and has not finished outside the top five at the Pac-12 Championships in her six seasons.
The 2019 women’s team placed second at both the NCAA Indoor and Outdoor Championships and won its second consecutive Pac-12 team title. The women scored 57 points at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, its most since also scoring 57 in 2002 and its 215 total points scored in the last five season is the school’s best stretch since amassing a school-record 268 points from 1998-2002.
The 2019 young men’s team fought through some injuries to place fifth at the Conference meet, 17th at NCAA Indoors and tied for 37th at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. During the year, Ayden Owens set the USC decathlon record, TeeTee Terry broke her school 100m record, Angie Annelus set the school 200m record and the women’s 4x100m relay team set a USC record, the latter two in winning the NCAA title in the event.
Smith Gilbert was named the 2019 USTFCCCA Women’s Indoor & Outdoor Women’s Coach of the Year and was named the Pac-12 Women’s Coach of the Year. Her 2019 teams garnered 34 All-America honors and combined indoors and outdoors to set six school records and 10 freshman records, running her total to 39 freshman records (27 indoors and 12 outdoors) and 52 school records (31 indoors and 21 outdoors) under her leadership. In addition 18 Trojans were named to Pac-12 All-Academic teams, bringing the total to 91 in her first six seasons leading the program.
Smith Gilbert earned her first national title by guiding the USC women’s team to the 2018 NCAA Outdoor T&F Championship, the second in program history. The women claimed the crown with an epic come-from-behind victory in the 4x400m relay, the meet’s final event. The men’s team had a historic final day with Michael Norman and Rai Benjamin combining to set three collegiate records en route to a fourth place team finish. This was the culmination of an extremely successful season which also saw the men’s team take second and the women’ seventh at the 2018 NCAA Indoor Championships, the women’s team winning the Pac-12 title and the men taking third and both teams winning the MPSF indoor conference team titles.
USC’s teams garnered 22 All-America honors, and combined indoors and outdoors to set 10 school records and six USC freshman records. Smith Gilbert was named the 2018 U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) National Women’s Coach of the Year, Pac-12 Women’s Coach of the Year and MPSF Men’s & Women’s Coach of the Year. Nine Trojans were named USTFCCCA All-Academic and the women’s team was named 2018 outdoor National Scholar Team of the Year
USC’s women’s team placed third at the 2017 NCAA Championships with its most points since 2002 and its highest finish since the 2006 season. The men’s team placed 20th, but was just six points outside of a top seven finish. USC athletes garnered 17 All-America honors. Both the men’s and women’s teams placed second at the 2017 Pac-12 Championships. During the indoor season, the women’s team placed fourth at the NCAA Championships and won the MPSF title, while the men’s team placed 21st at the NCAA Championships and took second at the conference meet.
During the 2016 season, the men’s team won its first MPSF Indoor title which earned Smith Gilbert MPSF Men’s Coach of the Year honors. At the Pac-12 Championships, the men’s team took fifth and the women’s team second. She also earned USTFCCCA Men’s Indoor West Region Coach of the Year honors.
Smith Gilbert continued the upward trending of the program in her second season as the 2015 men’s team placed fifth at the NCAA Championships with its fifth-most points since the scoring system changed in 1985 and the women’s team placed seventh with its most points since 2006 (since topped by the 2017 & 2018 teams). The top 10 finishes by both programs were USC’s first since the 2009 season.
It didn’t take long for Smith Gilbert to prove that USC had “hit a home run” when they named her as the Director of Track & Field on June 17, 2013. In her first season at the helm of the Trojan program, she guided the men’s team to a fourth-place tie and the women’s team to a 16th-place tie at the NCAAs, the women’s team won the MPSF Indoor Championship and both men’s and women’s teams placed second at the Pac-12 Championships.
Prior to her arrival at USC, Smith Gilbert was a six-time Conference USA Coach of the Year at the University of Central Florida who guided the Knights’ women’s team to a program-best fifth place finish at both the 2013 NCAA Track and Field Indoor and Outdoor Championships.
Smith Gilbert, 49, spent six seasons (2008-13) at UCF overseeing the women’s track and field and XC programs after serving as an assistant at Tennessee, Alabama and Penn State.
During her UCF tenure, the Knights won six Conference USA track and field indoor and outdoor crowns. Her athletes were named All-Americans more than 100 times and set more than 100 school records. Academically, her team’s GPA exceeded 3.0 nearly every term. She also oversaw the building of the on-campus UCF Cross Country Complex.
Smith Gilbert spent five seasons (2003-07) as an assistant coach at Tennessee, where she was responsible for coaching sprints, hurdles and jumps. Her Lady Vol athletes won three NCAA titles and seven Southeastern Conference championships and earned 53 NCAA Division I All-America honors. They also established 19 school records.
The 2005 Lady Vols won the school’s first NCAA Indoor Championship as her group combined for 24 All-America honors and seven school records. She was named U.S. Track Coaches Association National and Mideast Region Assistant Coach of the Year for sprints and hurdles.
Smith Gilbert was an assistant coach at Alabama for three years (2000-02), guiding athletes in the sprints, hurdles and jumps. During her tenure with the Crimson Tide, she produced seven NCAA Division I All-Americans and four USA Olympic Trials qualifiers.
She held similar responsibilities as an assistant at Penn State for two seasons (1998-99). Her Nittany Lion athletes accumulated four All-America honors and nine school records, and made the finals at the Big Ten Championships on 10 occasions. She also served the school as an instructor for the exercise science department.
Prior to becoming a collegiate coach, Smith Gilbert was the head coach for four seasons (1994-97) at her prep alma mater, George Washington High in Denver. Her program produced two state titles, three All-America selections and five athletes who accepted full scholarships to NCAA Division I schools.
In addition to her experience at the high school and collegiate levels, Smith Gilbert was an assistant with Team USA during the NACAC Championships and was invited to coach the sprints at the 2005 Pan Am Junior Championships. She also was selected as an assistant coach for the 2007 World Championships in Osaka, Japan.
A former indoor national record holder in the 55- and 60-meter dashes, Smith Gilbert was a two-time Colorado state champion in the 200-meter dash and long jump and a three-time state champion in the 100-meter dash as a prep standout. She set state records in each of those three events. She went on to become a three-time All-American at UCLA, where she was a Pac-10 champion in the 100-meter dash, 4×100-meter relay and 4×400-meter relay. She was part of an NCAA Championship runner-up 4×400-meter squad and was an All-American in the 4×100-meter relay in 1988 and 1989.
A 1991 graduate of UCLA, Smith Gilbert holds a bachelor’s degree in film and television production. She also holds master’s degrees in sport management and sport psychology from Tennessee. She is a 2006 USATF Level III Coaches Education Clinician.
Born on April 19, 1969, she is married to former NFL linebacker Greg Gilbert. They have three sons: Alex, Spencer and Osiris. Her son Spencer is a redshirt freshman linebacker on the USC football team.