Looking back on a storied career in track, Miles Smith himself cannot believe some of the things he achieved.

After all, Miles missed most of his high school career because of injuries, had a modest senior season at St. Louis’ Riverview Gardens High School and yet became arguably the greatest athlete, in any sport, at Southeast Missouri State.

“Coach (Joey) Haines showed he believed in me,” Smiths said. “I went to Southeast Missouri State and didn’t have a plethora of options. And I was on just a partial scholarship. But the rest is history.”

Memorable history, that is, and the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame is proud to induct Smith with the Class of 2016, as Smith dominated in college and competed on the world stage.

Smith was a five-time All-American in the 400 meters, earning the honors in indoors and outdoors in 2005, 2006 and 2008. He was named the Ohio Valley Conference’s Male Track Athlete of the Year four times (2005 Indoors, 2006 Indoors and Outdoors and 2008 Indoors) and still owns Southeast school records in the 200 meters (Indoors), 400 meters (Indoors and Outdoors) and 4×400 meter relay (Indoors and Outdoors). And that’s just scratching the surface of his accomplishments.

It was quite a turnaround for Smith. In his youth, he and siblings and cousins had joined the Royal Knights Track Club, then coached by Michael Carr, and Smith absolutely loved it. Then again, he didn’t have much of a choice, apparently.

“I had one of those families growing up where you were outside,” Smith said. “We were never allowed to be in the house. We were constantly doing something.”

Yet a series of injuries left Smith mostly as a spectator for most of his first three seasons in high school. Looking back, his body was a factor. He was 5-foot-7 as a freshman, and it took time for his body to develop. Finally, just before his senior year, he hit a growth spurt that took him to 5-11.

A late bloomer he calls himself. But it almost cost him a chance to compete in college. Fortunately, he placed fourth in the 400 meters at the state meet and helped the 4×200 meter relay team win state.

That summer got even better. Smith ran the 400 in an outstanding 47.6 seconds in a USA Track and Field event.

“There was no doubt in my mind if I could stay healthy, I could be a national champion,” Smith said. “And Coach Haines recruited a lot of like-minded runners. We all wanted to reach that success.”

Indeed, Southeast enjoyed tremendous team success with Smith, winning OVC Outdoor championships in 2005, 2006 and 2008. Personally, he won individual OVC championships and was named the 2006 OVC Athlete of the Championship at the OVC Indoor Track and Field Championships. His best time in the 400 was 45.16 seconds, achieved in 2005.

Along the way, Southeast’s 4×400 Indoor team – of which he was a part — won the New Balance Collegiate Invitational, the second-most important meet of the season next to nationals. The Redhawks beat South Carolina, Louisiana State, Texas A&M, Kentucky, Florida State and Tennessee.

“That right there,” Smith said, “it solidified us as national contenders.”

Smith also was an elite competitor on the international stage. He ran for the U.S. National Team in the 2005 International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) World Championships in Helsinki, Finland, where he won a gold medal with the 4×400 meter relay team. He also qualified for the USA Olympic Trials in both 2008 and 2012, and was a three-time finalist in the USA Outdoor Track and Field Outdoor Championships in the 400 (2005, 2009, 2011).

These days, Smith is giving back to the sport. From 2014 to 2016, he was an assistant track coach (sprints and hurdles) at SEMO, where he coached 12 individual OVC title holders, four relay team champions, 30 all-conference performers and seven NCAA preliminaries qualifiers. Six school records were set. The 2015 and 2016 men’s teams also swept the Indoor and Outdoor conference titles. Now he is an assistant at the University of Memphis.

In other words, he is trying to be for college sprinters what Haines was to him – a great mentor.

“I loved winning and winning is great,” Smith said. “But to see young people be happy with the time they ran or win a medal, to see them smile, that really makes it special.”