EAST LANSING, Mich (WLNS) – A local icon in prep hoops has decided to hang up his whistle. East Lansing girls basketball head coach Rob Smith, is calling it a career after 22-seasons with the Trojans.
Coach Smith has been a staple of consistent success at East Lansing having won 18-conference titles, 10-regional championships, 12 district championships, going to three state championship games, and winning it all back in 2010. He coached two Miss Michigan basketball finalists in Klarissa Bell and Jaida Hampton, as well as runner-up Aaliyah Nye who now plays at the University of Illinois. Racking up a total of 35-college scholarship athletes.
With an overall record of 378 wins and only 88 losses, Coach Smith is saying goodbye to the stress of being a head coach and trading it all in for some more time with his family. But we had to know why now and what led to this decision?
“I just felt like to be fair to the program and to be fair to the next coach and the kids that are coming up, they need to be able to hire somebody that’s gonna wanna spend nine-ten months out of the year because they’re super passionate about basketball and they might have a situation where it’s not gonna cost them the time with their family you know,” said Smith. “When I came in I was a single guy and I was young and energetic and I just had that time and now it’s just a different chapter in my life and ready to start a new journey and move forward with that.”
Smith has been more energized and excited this past week knowing he was close to making this announcement.
“Just having clarity gives you such a release and so much momentum moving into that next chapter in life,” said Smith. “Starting to think about the possibility of I’d like to be able to cook a lot more, you know, for my family and have dinner ready when my wife gets home and one day just decided, hey, you know, Tate, let’s head out to the lake and go fishing. Just the things that basketball never let me do before and over 30 years of coaching, now it’s time to do the other things.”
When we asked Coach Smith’s son, Tate Smith, what he thinks about his dad retiring from coaching he’s told us what he’s looking forward to the most.
“I’m excited for all of it,” said Tate. “Excited to spend more time with him and enjoy when I get off the bus to see him home. You know, I’d like to go when it gets warmer out, to go on bike rides with him, that’d be really fun. Him teaching me some basketball more, that’s an enjoyment that I like him to teach me. I’m very proud of him. I think he’s done a great job and, you know, it’s kind of sad that it’s gone, but I’m also excited.”
Coach Smith told us he’s completely focused on this year’s team and is 100-percent committed to the Trojans for the rest of this season.