LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – There are some people you meet in life who can automatically bring a smile to your face. No matter the place and no matter the time. Mike Smith was one of those people.
He had a larger than life personality that resonated with just about every single person he met. It’s what made him a great football coach, administrator, and more importantly a mentor. Smith loved helping people and his passion for grooming the minds of young people was infectious – just like his witty personality.
The news of his passing, at the age of 67 years old, sent shockwaves throughout the Mid-Michigan community as he spent nearly 40 years roaming up and down the sidelines.
Smith got his start in coaching in 1989 as the head football coach at Dansville before moving on to Holt in 1994 and did he ever turn the Rams into a powerhouse program. In his 14 seasons, 10 were winning seasons. He led Holt to five league titles, two district titles, two regional titles, and a state runner-up finish in 1995.
From there he served as an assistant at Olivet College and Grand Ledge and in 2013 he made his way back to Eaton Rapids to serve as the Greyhounds head coach where he yet again revived a program. Eaton Rapids had never been to the playoffs until he took over. His final stop in his Hall of Fame career led him to Everett.
Prior to Mason football’s game on Friday night, Bulldogs’ coach Gary Houghton shared a special memory between him and Smith.
“My first year we were really struggling,” said Houghton. “After the game, Coach Smith, he came up to me, and most coaches would say good game, and he said, ‘You know, you might feel like you’re snake bitten a little bit because you’re struggling, but just keep doing what you’re doing. You’re doing the right things,'” said Houghton. “I never forgot that and I always appreciated that.”