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Smith’s reunion a slam dunk

Former Washington basketball coach Dave Smith (center) poses for a picture with Mayor Archie Jennings (right) and Lee Drake at the Washington Civic Center. (Contributed Photo)

There will no doubt be plenty of family reunions this summer but it’s doubtful that any are going to include a former NCAA All-American point guard, a district attorney and a mayor.
Once again Dave Smith raised the bar to the highest of levels as the legendary former Washington High School basketball coach held a star-studded reunion for friends and former players that was attended by the likes of former UNC great Phil Ford, Washington District Attorney Seth Edwards and Mayor Archie Jennings.
The event was held in the Washington Civic Center and was hosted by Lee Drake who served as the master of ceremonies and Smith said the event was a slam dunk.
“It was tremendous,” Smith said. “It turned out better than I anticipated, especially because it was on a Sunday and people had to go to work on a Monday but traveled from some great distances to come. It was fantastic. It was great to see all of those individuals come together and be able to fraternize with each other. Some of those people haven’t seen each other since high school.”
The idea for a reunion was the brainchild of former Pam Pack basketball player Hale Stephenson who suggested it to Smith a few years ago. After giving it some thought, Smith went to work on a game plan. The strategy began with forming a committee that included former players Tony Boston, Frans Holscher and Edwards and each was designated a specific responsibility.
“I just want to give special thanks to my committee members,” Smith said. “I gave them all a list of people according to the area that they are in and they went out and contacted all the individuals. There’s no way I could have done this without them.”
The event was open to athletes who played under Smith from 1972-1991, but invites were also extended to the many friends the two-time state title-winning coach has made throughout years, like Ford and Jennings.
Ford, a former National Player of the Year with the Tar Heels, honored the crowd with a speech, while Jennings greeted attendees at the door.
The Civic Center was packed with former Smith pupils who have gone on to do tremendous things upon graduating high school, which allowed the NCHSAA Hall of Fame coach to sit proudly at the head of the table.
“It’s been very rewarding to watch the maturation of these individuals over a number of years,” Smith said. “It’s been great and I have enjoyed every minute of it. I did it because I wanted to give back to the guys who played for me and this was a special way to do it for them.”