Did a coach make a difference in your life? Please comment and/or share this blog post if they did and tell them if you still can. On this day, six years ago, my friend and assistant coach Coach Shawn Smith was tragically killed in a car accident driving three players home from basketball team camp who all survived. Shawn was just 29 years old, a military veteran, a special education teacher, and a football and basketball coach.
At a jam-packed service with well over a thousand mourners I was blown away by student after student of all races, backgrounds, interests, and any other way you can think of to divide people told story after story of how Shawn had looked out for them- how he had cared for and connected with the marginalized- how he had washed the clothes of a student who did not have a way to wash them at home- and so on.
We started the Coach Shawn Smith Memorial Award to honor a player who best connected with people regardless of their background as voted on by their peers, and in my opinion, it is the most prestigious award we could give.
I wonder if Shawn knew how many lives he had touched. I know many of the speakers said they wished they had told him. So thank you, Shawn, for all you did for your students and players and thank you to all the coaches out there making a difference every day. Do them a favor and let them know while you still can.