The grandkids and his golf game are calling.
Brad Smith said he missed way too many of his children's activities during his 26 years as football coach and athletic director at Chadron State. Now it's time to shift his priorities to the next generation, which so far numbers four.
Smith, 62, announced last week that he's retiring this summer. His last day is tentatively set for June 30, but he may stick around longer to ensure a smooth transition for his replacement.
“My grandkids are starting to get to the age where we want to see them a lot more,” he said. “The enjoyment and pleasure I got out of being here at Chadron State, I want to carry that on in a different route and watch my grandkids grow up.”
Smith has been kept extremely busy the last few years helping the school's foundation raise the $12 million needed for extensive renovations of the Armstrong Physical Education Building, where basketball and volleyball games are played. It's meant a lot of time on the road, but the payoff will be more success for a program he's helped nurture since 1987.
Work began last week on the strength and conditioning center, but he'll leave the final touches to the next person in line.
“I think the new person deserves to come in and set it up the way he or she wants to set it up,” he said.
While that will be part of his legacy, the highlight has been his work with the young people at Chadron. He went 136-57-1 as a football coach and added softball, golf and cross country for women as athletic director.
He coached from 1987 to 2004 and said the biggest moment on the field was when the Eagles went undefeated in 2001 before losing in the final minutes in a playoff game against Tarleton State. One of the low points has been the NCAA inquiry that pushed Smith back to the football field to coach four games in 2011 and is still ongoing. Smith said he owes it to the school to stay involved until that is resolved.
He's proud of the five conference championships, the high grade-point averages and the success of his players.
“That's what Division II is all about,” he said. “You want to have competitive teams and you want to win, of course, but you don't want to win at all costs.”
Son Micah played football for Smith. Another son, Ben, played at Purdue, which meant Smith missed a lot of games until the Eagles' season was over. His daughter, Kara, was a student at Nebraska.
They never resented the demands of his job, and in fact, Micah is now an assistant football coach at Fort Lewis.
Going to his son's games, visits to grandkids in Colorado Springs and Indianapolis and some consulting work will help keep him and his wife, Pam, active.
That and some time on the greens.
“I think I need to work on improving my golf game,” he said.
Win streak reaches 11 for Wildcat softball
An 11-game win streak, including five shutouts, has carried Wayne State (20-6, 11-1) to the top of the Northern Sun.
Kelcie Bormann, a sophomore from Preston, Iowa, is hitting a team-high .411 and ranks second in runs scored with 25 for a young Wildcat squad, which has just one senior and three juniors.
Papillion-La Vista South sophomore first baseman Kaiti Williams is hitting .386 and leads in hits (34) and doubles (eight). Freshman shortstop Sam O'Brien, from Lawrence, Kan., has six home runs and 29 RBIs.
The pitching staff, made up of two sophomores and two freshmen, sports a 2.01 ERA. Bormann, a pitcher/designated player, is 6-2 with a 1.70 ERA. Sophomore starter Sara Scheffert, out of Lincoln Southeast, is 10-3 with a 2.64 ERA and has six complete games with four shutouts. Freshman reliever Cassy Miller is 3-0 in eight appearances with two saves and a 1.15 ERA. In 1813 innings, she has fanned 25 batters without issuing a walk.
WSC is scheduled to play at home three times this week. The Wildcats host Southwest Minnesota State on Thursday, St. Cloud State on Saturday and a showdown Sunday against Minnesota Duluth, 27-7 and tied for second in the NSIC at 7-1.
>> Nebraska Wesleyan preseason NAIA All-American Alex Heideman, the 2012 GPAC baseball player of the year, is off to another great season. Making the move from outfield to catcher, Heideman leads the team in every offensive category, including batting average (.410), doubles (11), home runs (4) and RBIs (25). His .852 slugging percentage is second in the NAIA.
>> Concordia freshman third baseman Tyler Harris and junior center fielder Camaren Gause are in a close race for the team batting lead. Harris' .354 clip sits just ahead of Gause's .350 average. Gause leads Concordia in hits (28), doubles (9), runs (17) and on-base percentage (.407).
>> The Lopers (19-15) got a rare chance to play at home all weekend, taking three of four from Upper Iowa. Senior catcher-DH Chandler Klute of Kearney came back from an injury and hit .429 in the series with five RBIs. Redshirt freshman lefty Matt Sich, from Millard South, made his collegiate debut in the series finale, throwing three scoreless inning to give a tired pitching staff a shot in the arm.
>> Amy Schartz of the Chadron State softball team hit her third walk-off home run in as many seasons Sunday when the Eagles defeated Metro State 7-6.
>> Peru State shortstop Randy Santiesteban was named the Heart of America Athletic Conference baseball player of the week. The sophomore from Hialeah, Fla., batted .344 (11 of 32) with two doubles, a triple, two home runs, 10 RBIs and five runs scored as Peru State won five times. Santiesteban finished a busy week with a 3-for-5 outing that included a double, a triple, five RBIs and a run scored in a 16-3 win over Benedictine.
>> Doane had two pitchers throw no-hitters last weekend. Austin Caspersen, a freshman from Boelus, Neb., threw one in a 2-0 baseball victory at Dordt College on Saturday. Kylie Garrett threw hers against Mount Marty in an 8-0 softball win on Sunday.
>> UNK won 17 events and had seven NCAA provisional efforts at its lone home meet of the outdoor track season Saturday at Kearney High. Senior Kyle Glidden, from Benkelman, ranks 10th nationally in the discus (169-2) with senior Marty Molina of Kearney seventh in the triple jump (49-6¼). Brainard sophomore Marissa Bongers is 10th in the 800 (2:12.42).
>> Concordia junior thrower Jamie Crouse, a three-time All-American, broke former Bulldog Sara Retzlaff's school record of 179-3 in the hammer throw at the Loper Invitational. Crouse's toss of 183 feet shattered her personal record by roughly eight feet.
>> The Loper tennis team (17-5, 6-4) went 3-0 on an MIAA road trip this past weekend, beating Truman State, Emporia State and Washburn. Aiming to make another NCAA regional, junior Vanessa Gunawan of Indonesia is 20-1 at No. 1 singles, including an 11-match win streak.
>> Iowa Western guard Devin Brooks, a Creighton recruit, was named a third-team junior college All-American on Monday. Western Nebraska's Gritt Ryder and the Reivers' Leah Scott were second-team picks for the women.
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