A 2000 Londonderry grad, Smith made sure that the Lancers didn’t miss a beat when he took over the program five years ago following a stint as an assistant at his alma mater, Hofstra University.
Smith’s best team was probably in 2011, when the Lancers finished second in Division 1, but he may have done his best coaching job this year. That earned him, fittingly, the Larry Martin Award as our Coach of the Year.
After graduating six of its top seven runners, Londonderry was supposed to be rebuilding, but someone forgot to tell Smith.
Showing confidence in his inexperienced runners, Smith always felt that Londonderry would run with the best teams. He was right. The Lancers placed third in Division 1 and fifth at the Meet of Champions, both times just behind arch-rival Pinkerton.
Finally, the Lancers overtook Pinkerton at the New England Meet.
“We try to emphasize the idea that if you show up every day and put your miles in every day that you will see improvement,” said Smith, who also is the head coach of the boys winter and spring track teams. “In terms of the more nuts and bolts aspect of coaching, I’m a big believer in the long run. Besides the physical benefits, I love the mental toughness it instills in them.”
Previous Coaches of the Year
2011: Jay Santomassino, Gr. Lawrence; 2010: Derek Dorval, North Reading; 2009: Mike Clark, Pinkerton; 2008: Bill James, Methuen; 2007: Rick DelleChiaie, North Andover; 2006: Mike Maguire, Haverhill; 2005: Mike Clark, Pinkerton; 2004: Larry Martin, Londonderry; 2003: Steve Meline, Pentucket; 2002: Bill James, Methuen; and Larry Martin, Londonderry; 2001: Art Demers, Pelham
Girls Cross Country: First comes love, then titles for Astros
As an avid runner herself, Pinkerton’s Amy Bernard puts a high premium on enjoying the sport.
”My philosophy has always been to teach a love of running and life-long fitness first, and second breed a championship team,” said Bernard, who just completed her 10th year as head coach. “Sometimes the second isn’t always possible ... but, if you foster the first, a love for the sport, winning comes naturally.”