By: Shehzan Dayha and Tyler Walters
Photo Editor and Sports Editor
As the best of the best battled for the NCAA national wrestling championship in Cleveland Ohio, our very own Coach William Smith received the Twenty Five Year Service Award from the National Collegiate Athletic Association. Three Hammond coaches (William Yeo, Alex Abarmat, and Bill Smith) were in attendance.
Coach Smith has been apart of the Hammond family since 1983, coaching wrestling, football, boys soccer, boys lacrosse, and girls lacrosse. Hammond’s Athletic Directory, Mike Lerner, reflected on Coach Smith’s impact at Hammond. “Coach Smith has been helping student-athletes for over thirty years here at Hammond High School and throughout Howard County. I have never met another coach who was more passionate about helping student-athletes than Coach Smith. He has always and will always continue to help student-athletes reach their potential and help them learn life-lessons along the way.”
As an assistant, Coach Smith just finished the wrestling season with a record of 32-6. Many championships have been seen in the eyes of Smith. Wrestling captain, Jordan Davis, a junior at Hammond, says “Smitty is the most caring person I’ve ever met, and there is nothing he won’t do to help a student or one of his athletes. Without Smitty Hammond High School would not be the same.”
“Smitty is a person that would put his students and athletes in front of himself because that’s how much he cares,” says Caitlin Pettengill, #2 on the lacrosse field, “Even though he has retired from coaching girls lacrosse, we will carry his wisdom and great coaching with us.”
One thing that this reporter (Walters) will always remember is how much he cared for each of us, he was and still is someone we can talk to about anything we need help with, from college to homelife. As one of the author of this Article and captain of both the football and wrestling teams I would like to say that Smitty wants the best for everyone and he will not stop until he pushes you to be the best you.
Wrestling captain Loic Tuego says that “Smitty does more than coach, he teaches life lessons. Life lessons that we will use later on in life. On top of being one of the best coaches in the buisness.” Smitty has been coaching since he came to Hammond and has taken many sports, such as football and wrestling to championship peaks. Smitty is not just a coach, but a mentor for many of his players and wrestlers. Hammond’s students have benefitted from Coach Smith’s mentorship both on and off the field. Senior Justin Andrews, a football player and a wrestler who has been highly influneced by Smitty to always be the best he can be even on his worst days, says “Smitty sets a standard and we live by those standards. Smitty has been there for me, not just in sense of teaching me how to wrestle but also teaching me how to tackle personal issues at home and at school. As a senior I will miss him the most out of any coaches I’ve had over the years.” Smitty is a great mentor and a spirit animal for many but it’s his mentality that his students and players love the most . “He carries this dog mentality all time with him that I think that’s what seprates him from everyone. He doesn’t want us [wrestlers] to go out there and win but he wants us to do it with a statement that we are someone that you never want to see again, especially on the mat.” says Shehzan Dahya a junior and the 106 pounder from the Hammond High wrestling program. Not only do students and athletes praise Smith for his work but coaches and collegues also admire his hard work and dedication to his job. “Coach Smith is the embodiment of what being a coach should look like. He takes the time to get to know athletes both in the wrestling room and in their lives. His constant desire to push individuals beyond there comfort level is validated by several junior league state championships with the Warhawks, County, Region, and State titles with Hammond, and countless individual champions. More impressive than the championships are the numerous lives impacted through his mentoring and leadership. Smith is a great coach, and an even better person. Hammond High School is lucky to have him.” says Will Yeo head of the wrestling program and Special Education ITL at Hammond High.
Christopher Reagle, the new athletic director of Marriotts Ridge and former head coach of lacrosse at Hammond, also praised Smitty’s achievment. “Coach Smith has been an insipiration to several generations of athletes turned out to coaches. He has always instilled the values of hard work, dedication and caring above all else.”
As high praises and honors come and pave Smitty’s carrer, this reporter (Dahya) would like to add a statement.“We are thankful and blessed to have one of the best coaches to help us as we become adults. Without Smitty we would not learn the lesson of faith, comptetivness, focus, commitment, time-managment, and we are thankful for the time you pushed us when we lost faith in oursleves but it was you who pushed and made us fight adversity everyday. Thank You Coach Smitty.” This thank you letter is to you on behalf of every single athlete you have coached.”