Rollen Smith, a mentor of young men and community leader, is in his sixth year with the Youngstown State Athletic Department.
Smith, who has been assistant coach for the Penguins and worked with the strength and conditioning staff, now is an assistant Director of Football Operations.
After spending his first two years at YSU as a member of the football coaching staff he moved into a role as an Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach. For four years, Smith helped coordinate the strength and speed training for the football program and worked with other Penguins athletic teams.
In 2011, he worked with a group of eager cornerbacks in a ever-changing secondary. The Penguins had two freshmen starters at most times during the season with three corners missing the campaign because of injuries. YSU posted a 6-5 mark, including a win over top-ranked North Dakota State in November.
In 2010, Smith worked with the Penguins' defensive line. During the season, he helped coach second-team All-Missouri Valley Football Conference defensive tackle Torrance Nicholson.
A Youngstown native, Smith was an assistant high school coach in Youngstown from 1980 until he joined the YSU staff in January 2010. He was at Youngstown South from 1980 through 1988 and spent the next 20 seasons as an assistant under five different head coaches for the Ursuline Irish. At Ursuline he coached the running backs and cornerbacks while also handling the strength and conditioning duties for the program.
In his final two years, Ursuline won the state's Division V Championship. The Irish were a perfect 15-0 in 2008 and went 11-3 in 2009. He was also a member of the staff in 2000 when the Irish won the Division IV crown posting a 14-1 mark. While with the program, he coached for Dick Angle, Scott Niedzwicki, Jim Vivo, Dan Murphy and Dan Reardon. Ursuline qualified for the state playoffs 13 times during his tenure.
He has worked at the Martin P. Joyce Juvenile Justice Center since 1983 where he has been a group leader, supervisor, behavior specialist and director of programming. He is also a prevention specialist for the Mahoning County Chemical Dependency Program of Youngstown.
Smith has served on the Mahoning County area AIDS task force since 1988, been a volunteer at the Boys & Girls Club of Youngstown since 1988 and been on the Mahoning Valley task force against crime since 1990.
He has been involved with the Mahoning County Joint Vocational School, the Mahoning County Chemical Dependency Program, served as a case worker in Community Corrections and worked as a teacher and mentor at the Tod Vocational School.
Smith was a standout defensive back in his two seasons with Arkansas. As a junior, he was a first-team All-Southwest Conference selection for coach Frank Broyles. He was a team captain in 1974 and following the season, played, in the Blue-Gray All-Star Classic.
He was a sixth-round draft choice by the Cincinnati Bengals in 1975 and later signed with the St. Louis Cardinals before returning to Youngstown in 1980.
He earned his degree from Arkansas in 1976 after earning an associates degree from Garden City Community College in 1973. A Youngstown native, he graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School.
Smith has two sons, Rollen III, and Trevor.