Washington loses a great man

Published 6:23 pm Thursday, July 24, 2014

Coach Smith's very first basketball team at Washington High School during the 1972-1973 season

Coach Smith’s very first basketball team at Washington High School during the 1972-1973 season


On Wednesday, Washington residents learned of the passing of legendary basketball head coach David W. Smith.

From 1972 until 1991, coach Smith roamed the sidelines of the Washington High School basketball gymnasium that would later be named in his honor.

Smith became the Pam Pack basketball coach at age 40 after a stint at P.S. Jones, where he coached football, basketball and tennis.

As a high school basketball coach he amassed more than 500 wins, including a 56-game winning streak and back-to-back North Carolina state championships.

Smith’s impressive record on the court led to his induction to the NCHSAA Hall of Fame in 2004. The organization also named him to its list of the 100 greatest coaches of the last century in North Carolina during the NCHSAA 100-year celebration.

On the prestigious list, Smith joined another Washington High School head coach, James “Choppy” Wagner.

Though it wasn’t the basketball accolades that he was most proud of — Coach Smith didn’t miss a day in 34 years of coaching and teaching.

The man showed up to work each and every day, roughly 6,120 of them.

Smith will forever be linked to a couple of marquee former players, hall of famer Dominique Wilkins and Wake Forest star Alvis Rogers.

But his legacy reaches far beyond those two. Smith left a lasting influence on countless student-athletes.

And for that, David Smith holds a special place in the heart of his community.