Kathy Smith’s devotion to school athletics has been recognized multiple times but the awards aren’t the reason why she coaches.
“I enjoy the relationships I develop with the students,” said Smith, who coaches soccer, volleyball and field hockey at East York Collegiate Institute, where she also teaches phys ed. “You get involved in the lives of these students.
“My athletes come and they visit after school, they stay in the office and chat for an hour. Sometimes after they graduate, I come and see them play in their sports.”
Smith was awarded an inaugural Town Crier Coach of the Year, adding to the collection of awards she has won during her 30 years of coaching and teaching.
Some of the coaching accolades she’s received include the Colin Hood Award for excellence in coaching, the OFSAA Leadership in School Sport Award, and the 25 Years Award from the school board.
Athletic excellence seems to run in the family. Her daughter won Town Crier Athlete of the Year Awards twice in grade 11 and 12.
Smith also donates to and is a member of the Hager-Hull-Miller alumni organization, which awards $2,000 scholarships to two male and two female athletes at East York Collegiate each year.
Coaching three different sports isn’t hard for her because the basics of training are the same, Smith said.
“You have to learn the rules and strategies, and the drills sort of transfer from sport to sport.”
While she’s comfortable coaching on the field, her passion for teaching began in the water.
“I actually was a swimmer, but I never taught at a school that has a pool,” said Smith, who also did synchronized swimming and water polo as a teenager.
Her first coaching experience came as a swimming instructor when she was in high school.
“I’ve always enjoyed athletics myself and really enjoy teaching and working with teenagers,” she said.
Smith taught at a junior high school for three years. While she enjoyed the experience, she said she prefers teaching older students.
“I find I relate better to high school students,” she said. “I’ve been to three or four weddings of girls I’ve coached. I really feel that at
that stage in their life, I can develop a long-lasting relationship with them.”
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