Earlier last month, on November 5, 2020 the Everett Community was hit with devastating news. Coach Mike Smith passed away at the age of 67. He was Everett’s athletic director and recent head football coach.
“It was very surprising and shocking to hear about Smith and his passing. I always found him to be friendly, funny and really fun to be around,” said Principal Jaime Gundrum. “It’s a huge loss and he’ll definitely be missed.”
Born in Chicago, Illinois and raised in East Detroit, Smith attended Detroit Denby High School, where he found a passion for playing football and basketball. Eventually he received a football scholarship to play for Michigan State University from 1971-1974.
Smith was someone that was well respected by everyone and brought light into every room he entered.
“Coach had a force that made itself felt the moment he entered the room. Always the smile, the good-naturedness. Kind, yet tough. Tough, yet gentle. Gentle, yet not a pushover,” said former head secretary Juanita Kennedy.
Varsity football coach Jaleel Canty said Smith was full of life and energy, and very charismatic.
“His personality was infectious and made everyone smile,” said Canty.
A Michigan High School Hall of Fame football coach, Smith taught and coached from 1975-2018 at several schools including: Olivet College, Dansville, Eaton Rapids, Holt, and Everett. During his career, he racked up over 200 victories. Although he was essentially a football coach, he also coached Holt’s boys’ tennis teams from 1993-2007.
For the Everett community, he was a big inspiration for others and always worked to improve.
“What’s come to light even more since his passing is how many people he touched through teaching and coaching. He had a big impact on a lot of people,” said Gundrum.
One of his biggest traits was being a kind hearted generous man that always moved with good intentions towards his students and the people around him.
“There’s so many favorite memories I had with him, but one time when I used to be homeless he fed me and didn’t make me feel judged,” said Senior Andre Walls. “I felt heartbroken, he was one of the only people to believe in me.”
Canty took over as varsity coach when Smith stepped down.
“I walked in for my interview to join his staff. And he goes “you don’t look a day over 18, you sure you’re ready to coach?” I was 24 by the way,” said Canty. “He was a great mentor for me in helping me further develop my coaching skills as well as helping me be a better man.”
Known to be a family man, Smith was someone who loved and valued his family above all.
“My first thought was to his son. How he loved his son! He spoke to me often of his boy – especially when his son recommended he get his haircut and the Coach came into work with basically NO HAIR,” said Kennedy.
Canty agreed that family meant a lot to Smith.
“I know he valued his family more than anything,” said Canty
Coach Mike Smith was loved by everyone and played a big role in the lives of students, staff, family and friends. His legacy will continue to live on in the memories of those who knew and loved him.
Kennedy and Walls, when asked what they would like to say to Smith, shared their direct messages.
“You made me smile while at work…that is EVERYTHING,” said Kennedy.
“Thank you for the push,” said Walls