Garden City, Kan (westernkansasnews.com)-Guiding teams with great talent isn’t as easy as it looks. Just ask the Chicago Bulls before Phil Jackson arrived or the Patriots before Bill Belichick’s hoodie became a common sight on New England’s sideline.
Coming into the 2014 track season, the Garden City girls were projected as one of the top teams in the state. But they needed one of the best minds in the state to make it all work.
On Wednesday, the Kansas Coaches Association recognized that mind as Mike Smith was named coach of the year.
“I’m really humbled,” Smith said. “This means we have a program that’s moving in the right direction.”
After a slow start at the state track meet, the Garden City girls finished a few seconds from making that leap to the awards stage; a third-place finish.
“We wanted to make that jump this year,” Smith said. “Obviously we just missed out on it, but I’m not dissatisfied at all.”
Overall the girls finished fourth.
Smith also guided an inexperienced boys squad to a successful campaign.
“Our boys were very young people forget,” Smith said. “And we also had Greyson and Dusty (Tempel) dealing with injuries early on.”
Smith came to Garden City in 2002 when he replaced Dave Meadows as Head Football Coach. Five years later he took over the track program.