The Marple Newtown Football family lost a member on Saturday, as former Tiger Head Coach Jim Smith passed away at the age of 74. Smith guided the Marple Newtown program from 1987-1997, amassing a 57-68-1 record during his tenure.
Smith also served as the Marple Newtown Athletic Director from 1990-1998 during his stay in Newtown Square. Jim also served as a history teacher and member of the West Chester Area School District school board for over 30 years.
Coach Smith led the Tigers to an 8-3 record in 1987 and 1993. The 1987 Tigers finished second in the Central League, behind CAL champion Ridley.
In 1989 and 1991 he received the Lou Bonder Award from the Marple Newtown Coaches Association in recognition of his dedication and devotion to sports at Marple Newtown High School. The award for the Tigers most dedicated player each year is named after Coach Smith.
Former Tiger standout and assistant coach Nick Reynolds, who played for Smith from 1993-95, shared some of his fondest memories and stories about Coach Smith, describing his former coach as “an inspirational leader that really cared about his players”.
“On a personal level, he was more than just a coach for many of the guys that played on the team, he was more of a father-figure. He would basically look after all of us to make sure that we were on the right track. He went above and beyond what a coach would normally do.”
When Reynolds continued his playing career at Millersville University, Coach Smith wasn’t far behind.
“When I was in college, he would come up to my games and bring hoagies. He watched the game and after the game he would drop off a hoagie and be supportive.” Nick added, “Even after he coached you, he would come and support you in whatever you were doing.”
The impact Coach Jim Smith had on his former players and students will not be forgotten. The reverence and respect that Reynolds and his former teammates had for their Coach was evident, even in their adult lives.
“One of the best memories ever is when Gick (Chris Gicking) had his bachelor party. Coach Smith came out to a flag football game that we played (among the party attendees). After the football game, Coach Smith had us all take one knee and gave us another (post-game) speech. This was 15 years later and the guys gathered around him, took a knee and he gave us a little ‘Coach Smith speech.’ It was awesome.”
Funeral Service: Relatives and friends are invited 11:00 am Saturday, September 15, 2012 at First Presbyterian Church, 130 W. Miner St, West Chester, PA 19382. Visitation: 7:00 – 10:00pm, Friday, September 14, 2012 and from 8:00 – 10:00am Saturday, September 15, 2012, the DellaVecchia, Reilly, Smith & Boyd Funeral Home, Inc. 410 N. Church St., West Chester, PA, 610-696-1181; www.DellaFH.com.