Coach Sam Smith Tribute
(March 3, 1943— February 23, 2017)

Coach Sam Smith

Coach Sam Smith

It’s a sad time for Nashville, Tennessee. (and the country) as they’ve lost a great leader, legend and a man of magnificence. Coach Sam Smith was a man strong in leadership and confidence in life. He coached both the games of football and track and field for girls ages eight to 18. This pioneer and staunch trailblazer is gone but not forgotten. After battling the COPD illness, God called him home to rest on Feb. 23. Ironically enough, Coach Smith would have celebrated his 72nd birthday on March 3rd. Nevertheless, his family, friends and colleagues will gather this coming weekend in a variety of celebratory tributes.

The funeral arrangements are being handled by Lewis-Wright Funeral Home located at 2500 Clarksville Highway, Nashville, Tennessee. Visitation begins on Saturday March 4 from 5-6 pm. There will be a special Tribute service on Saturday, March 4 from 6-8 pm as well. The funeral will take place on Sunday, March 5 at Coach Smith’s home church, Fifteenth Avenue Baptist Church, located at 1100 10th Avenue Nashville, Tenn. 37208.

Coach Sam Smith, flanked by Brenda and Erica Gilmore, cuts the ribbon for the Sam Smith track at Whites Creek Stadium. (photo: Marcus Jones)

Coach Sam Smith, flanked by Brenda and Erica Gilmore, cuts the ribbon for the Sam Smith track at Whites Creek Stadium. (photo: Marcus Jones)

Also on Saturday, the 25th annual Sam Smith Track Clinic will still go on as planned under the guidance of Coach J.C. Curbeam. The event will be held rain or shine, and participants should come dressed to participate. It will start promptly at 8 am and end at 2 pm at Whites Creek High School. Coach Smith was known for his prompt attention to time and commanded that form others. That alone was just one of the many special traits that made him the legend that he was and will live on in the lives of others. Whites Creek High School is located at 7277 Old Hickory Boulevard, Whites Creek, Tenn. 37189. For additional information about the necessary registration, contact Mrs. Leonora Kellman at 615-438-7057.

There are not enough words to describe this amazing man, nor his full and giving life. But Coach Sam Smith, the Tennessee State University graduate and former teacher, celebrated 37 years of serving as the head coach of the Nashville based Continental T-Belles Girls Track Club this past January. The success ratio for the girls who trained under Coach Sam Smith’s guidance who went on to college on full scholarships is high. Programs such as this one can be literal life rafts for children and parents intending to survive the high statistics of life’s failures.

“I’ve only lost one girl to teenage pregnancy out of 37 years and sent two to the U.S. Olympics,” said Coach Smith in a previous interview.

Coach Sam Smith along with Mayor Megan Barry

Coach Sam Smith along with Mayor Megan Barry.

The Continental T-Belles Track Club can trace its history to the ‘Tigerbelle Track Club Development Program,’ a summer track program started by the legendary Coach Ed Temple. The purpose of the original club was to provide track and field competition experience for young women, as sanctioned by the U.S.A. Track and Field Association. For additional information about this association, call either of the following numbers: 615-585-6921 or 615-596-5527 or 615-473-9573.

Before he began coaching girls track, Smith coached football and has a strong legacy there too. His girl’s track coaching career began with the original T-Belles (now called the T-Belle Alumni Association). The T-Belle Alumni Association is comprised of the first and former track athletes that Coach Sam Smith began with in the field of track sports. The Continental T-Belle Alumni Association’s mission is to support the Continental T-Belle Track Club in fundraising, networking, and volunteering.

Coach Smith was a member of many organizations and supported many others. He was also a proud member of the Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity. He will be missed by far too many to count in Nashville and elsewhere.