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One final honor for the states winningest coach
- John Denny
- Clackamas Review - Sports
The Oregon City community dedicates 'Brad Smith Court'
OREGON CITY - Last Friday was a huge day for former Oregon City High School girls basketball coach Brad Smith.
The Oregon City community showed its appreciation for his contributions to the area's youth by dedicating the main basketball court at Oregon City High School as 'Brad Smith Court.'
The dedication took place in advance of Friday's varsity game with Clackamas.
Smith retired at the end of the 2005-06 season as the winningest coach in Oregon high school girls basketball history, with a 626-93 record over 27 seasons.
Smith's teams never finished worse than third in league. He had five teams win or tie for league championships, 25 teams advance to state, ten teams win state titles, and his Pioneers were national champions in 1995, 1996 and in 1997.
Smith visited with former players and associates prior to the dedication and following the varsity game, accepting their congratulations and sharing treasured memories.
Brad Smith's daughter, Ashley Smith Campbell, spoke during the dedication.
'What's really special to me is the person you are,' Ashley said to her father and former coach. 'After all the personal sacrifices you made, your commitment, and all the time and energy you put in. To have your name on the court, it's such an appropriate and deserved honor….'
Oregon City's current head coach, Kurt Guelsdorf, read a letter from Brad Smith's longtime friend, assistant and co-coach Carl Tinsley.
The letter read, in part: '[More than your name on the court] your legacy will be the hundreds of lives you've touched and saved….'
Greg Lord, a longtime friend and associate who helped recruit Smith into coaching, described Smith as: 'loyal, a great friend, trustworthy, tenacious, and most of all a caring and giving person.'
'Forget the court, your name is written in my heart forever,' Lord said.
'This means the world to me….,' Smith said, before directing the crowd's attention to new display cases outside the gymnasium that pay tribute to former players that have gone on to earn All-American honors or play as a professional.
Smith said afterwards, 'People look at that one name and they don't realize all the people responsible for making that happen….
'For me it's really special, because it capitulates and wraps up your life. It brings back all those memories of all those people that have been a huge part of your life….
'One of the neatest things is those display cases outside the gym. You've got to have been an All-American or pro athlete to make it up there.'
Among Smith's former players recognized are Kristen Forristall (2004), Lindsey Yamasaki (1998), Brianne Meharry (1997), his daughter Ashley (1997), Tammy Arnold (1995) and Amy Alcorn (1994).
'I think my daughter summed it all up on the way home [after Friday's game],' said Smith. 'She said, 'After you see this you realize that tradition never graduates.''
Taylor Belmont, a junior on this year's roster, shared her thoughts following Friday's game: '[What Brad Smith's name painted on the court means to me] is that our team is carrying on the legacy Brad Smith started, and every time we come on this court we'll work hard for him.'
Belmont added, 'I've played basketball since fourth grade and I've watched every [home] game Brad's coached since I was little. Now it's kind of like a dream come true to be on the varsity team.'