In 1966, when Centralia Junior
College became Kaskaskia College, Larry
Smith was named Head Baseball Coach,
Assistant Basketball Coach (until 1972) and
Physical Education and First Aid
Instructor. He came to KC from his
native Cerro Gordo, Illinois having coached
at the high school there the previous three
Nearly 1,900 baseball games later, Smith
gave up the coaching reins after the 2002
season. He became only the fourth Junior
College coach in Illinois to surpass 800
victories. In doing so, he gained the
respect and admiration of all who came in
contact with him as a coach and teacher.
Smith’s KC teams garnered seven conference
championships (SICC-1968, 1973, 1974, 1979,
1981, GRAC-1988). In 1988, he was named
Conference Coach of the Year as the team was
In NJCAA play, his teams captured six
sectional titles, and were sectional
runner-up 17 times. At the Regional level
(state tourney), his teams placed fourth in
1989, third in 1985 and 1994, and took the
Region 24 title in 1991. The team was
runner-up at the Great Lakes District
Tourney in 1991 as they were two wins away
from an appearance in the NJCAA national
Twelve of his players were signed by major
league organizations, and three made it to
the big leagues. Smith developed a
copyrighted baseball scorebook in 1968. Over
the years, he has conducted countless
baseball camps for younger players and
spoken at numerous clinics and banquets.
He served as Chairman of the Illinois Junior
College Baseball Committee in 1982, 1983 and
1991 and 1994. He has been a member of the
Region 24 Baseball Committee since 1982.
Smith had the honor of begin named to coach
the South Jr. College All-Stars in 1982
(Wrigley Field), and in 1994, and was
Assistant Coach for this game in 1979, 1981,
1983, and 1984.
He was chosen to coach the North team in the
1986 U.S. Olympic Festival in Houston, Texas
and took the bronze medal.
Smith was the driving force behind building
a state-of-the-art baseball facility for
Kaskaskia College. He spent untold
hours along with many volunteers in getting
the facility built entirely without school
funds. Recognized as one of the finest
college baseball facilities, the complex was
named Larry Smith Field in 1999.
1997 could be called a RED LETTER year for
Smith as he retired from his teaching duties
at KC and was inducted into the Illinois
High School Baseball Coaches’ Hall of
Fame, the Kaskaskia College Athletic Hall of
Fame, and the Cerro Gordo Hall of Fame. In
2003, his KC baseball jersey #3 was retired.
One opposing coach had this to say about
Smith: “There is a right way and a wrong
way to do things. Larry always did
them the right way.” Through all of his
years of coaching, teaching, wins, and
losses, the one thing Smith is most proud of
is what his players and students achieved
later in life.
In 2009 Smith was inducted into the NJCAA
Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame.