By: Rick Bender
HANOVER, N.H. — It is with great sadness that Dartmouth Athletics announces Peter Fox Smith, the head coach of Dartmouth women’s cross country from 1977-91, passed away peacefully at his home last week at the age of 85. He also worked with the women’s track and field squad for 16 seasons (three as the head coach from 1977-79).
Smith joined the Big Green family in 1977 and found immediate success with the women’s track and field team, guiding the team to the Ivy League Outdoor Heptagonal Championship, the first presented on the women’s side in conference history. His cross country teams had their best stretch in the mid- to late-’80s as Dartmouth finished second in the conference standings four times and third on two other occasions during the six-year period from 1984-89.
While Smith served on the women’s track team staff, the team had one All-American, three Eastern champions, 15 NCAA All-East athletes and 29 Ivy League Heptagonal champions. Two of his athletes qualified for the NCAA meet in the 5,000 and 10,000 meters in 1985, and two more did so again two years later. Smith also mentored the first Dartmouth woman NCAA qualifier in cross country in Laurie Isbell ’90 and guided the team to top-20 finishes at the NCAA meet in both 1988 (12th) and 1989 (18th).
Smith was a past president of the combined men’s and women’s Heptagonal Coaches Association, plus taught a course for graduate students at Dartmouth. In 1987, he received a three-year appointment from the college as an adjunct professor to teach undergraduates as well, serving as a great asset for many of his student-athletes as a bridge between athletics and academics. That post led to him stepping away from the administrative obligations of the program.
A graduate of Denison University, Smith would also earn a master of teaching degree and Ph.D. in philosophy and music from Harvard. He was widely known across the Upper Valley for his weekly radio show that he hosted for 40 years on Vermont Public Radio featuring opera and music.
Smith lived on a small farm in North Pomfret, Vermont, with Joanne, his wife of 63 years, where they raised their two children. His full obituary can be found on the Cabot Funeral Home website (cabotfh.com).