Dr. Helen Smiley began her Western career as the Director of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women from 1985-88. When the men's and women's department merged, Smiley served as the Director of Athletics for Operations until 1994. She took over as the Leathernecks' Athletics Director that year and served in that capacity until her retirement in 2001. Named NACDA/Continental Airlines AD of the Year in 2000, Smiley was honored by the Mid-Continent Conference (now Summit League) by having the Women's All-Sports Award named after her. The prestigious award is given at the end of the academic year to the Summit League member that collects the most points in relationship to placement in league-sponsored sports.
A member of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) since 1981, she has moderated and presented roundtable discussions on several topics for the organization. Twice she did presentations at the NACDA convention (1982, 1989), served on the Nominating Committee (1889-90) and Board of Directors (1988-92). Smiley worked with the NCAA on basketball committees, including: Chair of the North Central Region Division II, Administrative team of the Division II National Tournament (1982-85) and Mideast Regional Advisory Committee (1996-99). Dr. Smiley was a member of the Board Round Table on Rules Education and presented materials.
During her tenure at Western she worked on numerous Administrative, Compliance, Promotional and Women's Basketball committees with the Gateway Collegiate Athletic Conference and Mid-Con. She served as Chair of the Director's Council from 1998-2000.
Smiley graduated with a bachelor's degree from DePauw, received her master's at Ball State and a doctoral degree from Iowa. She began her professional career as a teacher and coach at Northwestern High School (Kokomo, Indiana) then Western HS (Russiaville, Indiana) before taking over as the Director of Women's Recreational and Intercollegiate Sports Programs at the University of Iowa. She became the first Women's Athletic Director for the Hawkeyes. She took over as Associate Athletics Director at the University of North Dakota from 1971-85 and then began at Western Illinois.
Currently residing in Bella Vista, Arkansas, she volunteers her time doing community service for several groups, and is involved with three music groups: Perfect Harmony Women's Barbershop Chorus, Natural Sound Barbershop Quartet and Bella Vista Women's Chorus. Smiley has one son, Doug (former Western Illinois Sports Information Director and WIU graduate).