CLARENDON, Texas – Wyatt Smith has always been an athlete and a winner, and he’s taking that characteristic with him to his new post as the women’s rodeo coach at Clarendon College, where he also will be an assistant for the men’s program.
Smith won national titles at the high school and college levels, and in 2015, he qualified in steer wrestling to the National Finals Rodeo. He joins a program that just won the men’s team national title at the College National Finals Rodeo under coach Bret Franks.
“I’m hoping I can learn a bunch from him,” Smith said of Franks, who also has coached cowboys to four national titles over the last few years. “We’ll see how we can be successful and go back and win the nation again.”
Clarendon has three cowboys that have earned the intercollegiate titles under Franks: Saddle bronc riders Wyatt Casper (2016) and Riggin Smith (2019) and Franks’ youngest son, Cole, who won the bareback riding and all-around national titles this year. There are three former members of the rodeo team who competed at this year’s National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, Casper, Franks and bronc rider Tegan Smith.
“I’ve been looking for a college rodeo coaching job for quite a few years,” Smith said. “It’s always been a dream job for me that I’ve always wanted to have. I was looking around and talking to people, and they directed me to this place.”
For the last several years, he has served as a police officer in St. Johns, Arizona. It’s close to where his wife’s hometown, so it was a nice fit. He had just started as the school resource officer. When Franks called, Smith accepted the position.
“I was on board 100 percent,” Smith said. “It was a little longer process than I was hoping, but I’m here and super happy to be here. I’ve been here about four weeks, and I get to go back to doing things I love to do.”
That sets up well for Smith and for Clarendon College. The rodeo team will be coached by two men who have played on ProRodeo’s biggest stage, the NFR; Franks was a three-time qualifier in saddle bronc riding.
“It’s going to be great having Wyatt with us,” Franks said. “He’s got a lifetime of experience, and he has a passion for coaching. It will be a good thing for our program to have him here.”