Patsy Smith, interim director of athletics

Patsy Smith will serve as the interim director of athletics at Missouri Western State University.

“Patsy Smith is a Griffon through and through, having been a part of Missouri Western athletics as a student-athlete, coach and administrator,” said Dr. Robert Vartabedian, Missouri Western’s president. “I have the utmost confidence she will provide excellent leadership to the department while we complete the search for our next athletic director.”

“I feel honored that Dr. Vartabedian has asked me to serve as the interim director of athletics at Missouri Western State University,” Smith said. “Having served in this role previously, I am confident our coaches and staff will continue to do a great job, and this will provide for an easy transition.”

Smith officially retired from Missouri Western in July of 2014 after serving various roles in the department since 1994. At the time of her retirement, she served as senior associate director of athletics and senior woman administrator. She continued to serve part-time as athletic business manager until March of 2017.

Smith began her career at Missouri Western in the fall of 1990 as a tennis student-athlete and graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in accounting in 1995.

In 1994, Smith became the head women’s tennis coach and led the team to its first ever NCAA Tournament in 1998. That same year, she became the first athletics business manager at Missouri Western. She has served in the roles of compliance and academics, director of finance, assistant athletics director and finally senior associate director of athletics and senior woman administrator before retiring from full-time employment in 2014.

Smith served on the NCAA Regional Advisory Committee for tennis and the NCAA Regional Advisory Committee for women’s basketball. She also served on the NCAA Championships Committee for six years and was chairperson of the Institutional Representative Council for the MIAA at the time of her retirement.

In the St. Joseph community, Smith co-chaired the YWCA Women of Excellence Luncheon and is a member of their finance committee. She was also a member of the St. Joseph Junior League for 10 years.

Smith takes over for Kurt McGuffin, who left after five years at Missouri Western to become director of athletics at the University of Tennessee-Martin. Dr. Vartabedian hopes to name McGuffin’s permanent successor by the end of July.

Missouri Western State University is a comprehensive regional university providing a blend of traditional liberal arts and professional degree programs. The university offers student-centered, high quality instruction that focuses on experience-based learning, community service, and state-of-the-art technology. Missouri Western is located in St. Joseph, Mo., and is committed to the educational, economic, cultural and social development of the region it serves. Visit