Elson Smajlaj (SMAI-lai) was appointed the head coach of the Felician University women's and men's cross-country teams in May 2018. He is the fourth coach in the history of both programs.
During his first season, Smajlaj guided a Felician women's team led by four newcomers to a fourth place finish in the 2018 Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Championhip meet. It was a improvement by nine slots over the previous year. Shayla Morales became the first Golden Falcon female runner to ever be named CACC Rookie of the Year.
Smajlaj served as Felician's interim head coach of women's outdoor track & field for the spring 2019 campaign.
From 2013-2016, Smajlaj was the head women's and men's coach at fellow CACC member Bloomfield College. He was voted the CACC Women's Coach of the Year in 2014 and the league's Men's Coach of the Year in 2016. His 2014 women's squad also captured the CACC Team Sportsmanship Award.
Smajlaj's Bloomfield men finished second at the 2016 CACC Championship meet. His best conference result with the Bear women was fourth in 2014.
Smajlaj was born and spent most of his childhood in Albania. He was a scholastic standout at North Bergen High School, helping the Bruins to a Hudson County championship in track & field. Smajlaj then attended Bloomfield, and was a four-year scorer, three-year captain, and three-time member of the Fall CACC All-Academic Team for the Deacons/Bears.
Smajlaj completed a bachelor's degree in mathematics education at Bloomfield in 2012 and a master's in mathematics at New Jersey City University in 2018. He is a math teacher and the head boys' and girls' indoor and outdoor track & field coach at North Bergen High. Smajlaj has led the Bruins to two Hudson County indoor championships and three outdoor crowns, and is a three-time HCTCA outdoor Coach of the Year. He resides in North Bergen.
Last updated 8/8/19