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Don Smith
The Centralia Sports Hall of Fame
2007 Individual Award Winner


 

The 1953 graduate of Centralia High School started three years of varsity football for A.L. Trout.  He played tailback and called plays. Those three seasons (1950, ‘51, ‘52) saw a combined record of 17-6-1.

During his Sophomore year, Coach Trout announced that Smith and then assistant coach, Jimmie Evers, were the two best passers he had coached. Smith also played halfback on defense and his Senior year averaged 41-yards punting and was extra point and kick-off man.

In the summers between his high school years, he played shortstop in the Washington County Baseball League.  He batted over .400 for three seasons as his team was league champion two years and runner-up one year.

In 1953-54, Smith was sixth man on Art Allen’s Centralia Junior College basketball team that placed tenth in the nation. He also played on the first CJC baseball team batting over .400 while pitching and playing shortstop.

1954 through 1956 saw Smith in the Army (82nd Airborne Div.). While there, he was the leading receiver on the football team. He was the only player on the team not to have played college football.

On the baseball team, he batted leadoff (.379) and played shortstop on a team made up mostly of former minor league players.  After his service time, Smith played on the Centralia Merchants fast pitch softball team that placed second in the state tourney in Bloomington.

Upon graduation from Eastern Illinois University, he returned to Centralia High School in 1961. Over the next thirty-three years, he would coach everything but golf and tennis. 

In 1967, Smith became only the third head football coach at CHS following Trout and Evers. Through 1979, he compiled a record of 71-47-4. His 1969 team was undefeated (9-0) and was ranked tenth in the nation by one magazine. 

The 1974 Orphans (9-2) qualified for the first-ever IHSA football playoffs in Class 4A (16 team field) making it to the quarterfinal round. His 1977 team (7-3) also qualified for the Class 4A playoffs. These three teams were also South Seven Conference champions. 

He returned as head football coach in 1989 and had a record of 10-17 over three seasons. Smith was also head baseball coach 1976 through 1980. His teams captured a regional title in 1977 and a South-Seven Conference title in 1980.  His five-year record was 73-59.

Leading up to and during his head coaching stints, Smith was Sophomore football coach six years (40-10-2), assistant track coach ten years (under Evers and White), assistant basketball coach at different times under head coaches Davies, Jones, Roberts, and Bogle, and was assistant wrestling coach under Carpenter one season.

After retiring from CHS, Smith coached the women’s basketball team at Kaskaskia College from 1995 through 2001. Recruiting only in-district players with only tuition and book scholarships, he had a record of 74-133.


 

 

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