WVWC Tennis Coach presented with court dedication

Coach Jim Smith. PHOTO SUBMITTED

BUCKHANNON — West Virginia Wesleyan College and the WVWC Tennis Program received a generous donation to rename court five after the Bobcat legend Jim Smith. He served as an assistant basketball coach, assistant football coach, head basketball coach, and led the men and women tennis teams. Jim Smith, who commanded both the West Virginia Wesleyan Bobcat and Lady Bobcat Tennis Teams for many years, was recently honored by coaches of all the participating West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference School.

In a brief ceremony on October 21,2021 in Smith’s office, adorned with tennis photographs and equipment from his coaching years, current Bobcat and Lady ‘Cat net coach, Jared Luteran, presented Smith with an engraved plaque, with athletic director, George Klebez looking on.

The plaque read:

“In appreciation for the time and support you have so generously given to Intercollegiate Tennis, the WVIAC and the following schools express their gratitude for your outstanding effort: Bluefield State College, Davis & Elkins College, Fairmont State College, Salem International University, Shepherd College, University of Charleston, West Liberty State College, West Virginia Wesleyan College, West Virginia State College and West Virginia University Tech.”

Luteran, a former player for Smith, said he and the other coaches from the eleven schools that competed in tennis

wanted to let Smith know that his many years as one of the top coaches in the conference were appreciated. Smith’s education timeline ran from 1953-1983, his teaching experience was 1959-2006, and professional coaching experience for Wesleyan College was from 1969-2004 where he was inducted into the W. Va. Wesleyan Athletic Hall of Fame. 1956 was the first time they won the sectional title, winning records all seven years in Belpre, Ohio. Jim Smith wore many hats during his time at West Virginia Wesleyan. At different points in his career, Smith served as an assistant basketball coach, assistant football coach, head men’s basketball coach, and led the men’s and women’s tennis program. Smith served as the Chair of the Department of Health and Physical Education, while also teaching health and physical education courses his entire tenure at Wesleyan. Smith guided the WVWC women’s team to a WVIAC conference championship in 1997 and was a mainstay in the top three every year while Smith was at the Helm.

Not only was Smith a great coach, but he was also a great athlete at WVWC. Smith was a standout sprinter on the track team. He was a part of teams that won conference titles from 1955-57. He set records in the 100 yard sprint and the 220 yard sprint. He also was a mainstay on basketball teams in the mid-50s coached by Hank Ellis. From 1959-1960 at Centerburg High School in Centerburg, Ohio while coaching basketball, Smith won the Knox County Championship for the first time in twenty-one years. He was awarded the Knox County Coach of the Year. 1960-1961: Knox County Championship, Mid-Buckeye Conference Championship, Knox County Tournament Championship for the first time in twenty-seven years, Central District Tournament Championship for the first time in history of the school, Knox County Coach of the Year and Mid-Buckeye Coach of the Year. In 2012, the Centerburg Alumni presented in Honor of Coach Jim Smith a Leadership Scholarship that is given to graduating seniors who have demonstrated leadership. The scholarship has been given each year. Congratulations Coach Jim Smith on all of your outstanding accomplishments.

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