On Jan. 11, Princeton Athletics announced the hiring of Miles Smith Jr. as the University’s new Associate Director of Athletics for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). Prior to this position, Smith served as Associate Director of Athletics for Compliance and Student Development at The College of New Jersey (TCNJ).
“We are thrilled to welcome Miles and his family to Princeton Athletics,” Director of Athletics John Mack ’00 stated in the press release. “The experience Miles has as both a DEI practitioner and an administrator, combined with his passion for student-athletes, makes him a perfect fit for our team.”
"I am extremely excited and humbled to be joining the Princeton Athletics family. I would like to thank Director of Athletics John Mack for recognizing the importance of this work and investing in inclusive excellence,” Smith said in the same statement.
Smith’s hiring comes about four months after the resignation of the former Associate Director of Athletics of DEI, Jordan “JT” Turner, who left the position in Sept. 2022. An investigation by The Daily Princetonian revealed that Turner was one of three DEI staff members to have resigned from the University since Sept. 2021. All three alleged “a lack of structural support and understanding from the University” and “insufficient thought in designing the roles they were hired to fulfill,” the ‘Prince’ reported in December 2022.
“The more I push[ed] for policy change, the more resistant the leadership became. It was a highly macro-aggressive environment,” Turner told the ‘Prince.’ “I couldn’t take the necessary steps that were needed to lay the groundwork for innovative equity work in the department.”
“It didn’t feel like the intention was for me to be fully supported in my role,” they added.
In the press release by Princeton Athletics, Smith did not reference the resignation of his predecessor and focused on the future of the position.
“I envisioned this role as an educational expedition developing into more than just an inclusive athletic department, but becoming an innovative leader in college athletics for Inclusive Excellence,” Smith said in the Athletics statement on his approach to the role.
“I look forward to leading and serving in this fundamental role, while working alongside student-athletes, coaches, alumni and administrators to create lifelong impact while ensuring that Princeton Athletics is a place where all can grow as inclusive leaders," he added.
Smith graduated from Northern Vermont University-Johnson in 2009, where he later served as both head coach of the men’s basketball team and Assistant Director of Athletics for Compliance. Smith also served on the NCAA Regional Advisory Committee and Coaches Chair for Men’s Basketball in the NAC and in 2015, was named the North Atlantic Conference Coach of the Year.
During his time at TCNJ, Smith was the college’s Athletic Diversity Inclusion Designee and the assistant coach for the men’s basketball team.
Both Mack and Smith declined multiple requests to speak with the ‘Prince’ on the subject of Smith’s hiring, citing a need for Smith to first settle into his new role.
Dana Serea is a staff writer for the Sports section at the ‘Prince.’ Please direct any corrections requests to corrections[at]dailyprincetonian.com.