Bethany Hall of Famer Jill Kamerer-Smith Honored By Recent Accolades

By John D’Abruzzo

Social media presented Jill Kamerer-Smith with a bit of a surprise.

While scrolling through her Twitter feed this past November, she was a little shocked to see her named listed on the Presidents’ Athletic Conference women’s basketball 60th anniversary team. A 2001 graduate of Bethany College and former standout player, Kamerer-Smith immediately checked in with her longtime friend and former teammate, Rosanne Scott, to verify what she just read.

Jill Kamerer-Smith

Jill Kamerer-Smith addresses the crowd during her Bethany College Hall of Fame Induction this fall.

“Someone from Westminster re-tweeted the post, so I texted Rosanne,” Kamerer-Smith said. “She explained it to me because I didn’t know anything about it. It’s a great honor and pretty cool to think that most of the girls from Bethany named on the team I had an opportunity to play with. That says a lot about the program and the teams we had.”

Getting named to the conference’s anniversary team was the second time in less than a year that Kamerer-Smith was recognized for her stellar career. In October, she was one of five new members inducted into Bethany’s Bison Hall of Fame.

“It really was an honor,” said Kamerer-Smith, who now lives in Erlanger, Ky, where she teaches physical education. “I enjoyed having my teammates there with me. It’s really cool that Stephanie [Cunningham-Roksandich] and Rosanne [Scott] were both there. We all played together and we’re now all in the hall of fame.”

Kamerer-Smith’s induction class also included Kathleen (McGowan) Wack (swimming & diving, 1998), Jodi Jackfert (softball, ’98), Nevada Smith (men’s basketball ’02) and Michael Mezerski (tennis, ’99).

“It’s a great honor for Jill and it was about time she was honored,” said Scott, who is Westminster College’s head women’s coach and also was inducted into Bethany’s Hall of Fame in 2013. “It’s great to see the players from the great teams we played on start to receive recognition.”

Bethany Champs

Jill Kamerer-Smith and the Bison celebrate one of four PAC titles won during her tenure with the team (1998-2001).

A 1996 graduate of Buckeye Local High School in Rayland, Ohio, Kamerer-Smith, was a four-year letter winner at Bethany and helped guide the Bison to four PAC Conference championships and three NCAA Division III Tournament appearances. She is still the program’s all-time leading scorer with 1,914 points and holds the single-season record with 551 points.

“Jill was just instant offense,” said Scott, who is a 2000 graduate of Bethany. “She could post up and score with her back to the basket. She was a great shooter and the best teammate.”

“We had such great chemistry on the floor and that’s probably because we were best friends off the court. She had the greatest hands I’ve ever seen as both a player and a coach.”

During Kamerer-Smith’s junior year, she led the conference in scoring and averaged 19.7 points a game. She was named the PAC MVP during her senior year after she led the league in scoring for the second consecutive season by averaging 20.5 points.

“I believe our teams kind of started the winning tradition at Bethany,” Kamerer-Smith said. “From our freshman year, we wanted to continue winning. We wanted to put losing behind us and we were able to leave our mark.”

Scott agreed.


Jill Kamerer-Smith and Rosanne Scott.

“We took pride in everything we accomplished as a team,” said Scott, who ranks third on Bethany’s all-time scoring list with 1,636 points and finished her career with a program-best 493 assists and 323 steals. “Just with our competitiveness, we wanted to make our mark on the program. With the seniors we played under as underclassmen, we had great leaders so they started the attitude that we wanted to continue. We wanted to win and the girls who came after us helped continue that tradition.”

After graduating from Bethany, Kamerer-Smith served as a part-time assistant coach basketball at Thomas More College while earning her teaching certificate. She went on to teach high school physical education for close to nine years before spending the past four years teaching elementary school.

“Basketball definitely helped me as a PE teacher,” she said. “Being an athlete has always been a part of me even when I was younger. I thought I would coach and go down that path, but it didn’t go that way.”

She did, however, coach junior varsity basketball in Kentucky for five years before she hung up her coaching whistle.

“People always ask me about coaching, but my coaching years are over,” said Kamerer-Smith, who now enjoys watching her sons, six-year-old Jace and three-year-old Jett, start to get into basketball. “I might help out with my sons, but I’ll probably just yell from the stands.”