Even though he’s achieved the unthinkable, eclipsing 1,000 career wins, Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) coach Steve Smith has a hard time putting into words what that accomplishment feels like.
“It’s tough to say because, I’ll be honest, I never thought I’d be coaching long enough to get to 1.000 wins,” Smith said. “Or have the kind of talented players to help me get to this point. Coaching is so tedious sometimes, but we’ve had great players and I’ve had great people around me. It helps that I’ve stayed at one place my whole career. We’ve built a tradition that I’m extremely proud of.”
Smith reached the 1,000-win mark on Dec. 29 when the No. 5 Warriors knocked off West Linn (West Linn, Ore.) 77-47 in the Les Schwab Invitational semis. He eclipsed that mark the next night with an 82-66 win over No. 6 DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.) in the title game.
Smith, 60, is in his 31st year at Oak Hill, his overall record now stands at 1,001-65.
Former Dunbar (Fort Worth, Texas) coach Robert Hughes retired in 2005 as the all-time winningest high school basketball coach with 1,333 wins.
So which win was the most memorable for Smith?
The first, a 71-65 win over Fork Union Military Academy (Fork Union, Va.) in 1985.
“We played at their place and I was worried that I was gonna lose my first game as the coach at Oak Hill,” said Smith, whose teams averaged 33 wins a year to reach the milestone. “When we won we took a team picture by the Fork Union sign and everything. I just remember that feeling of relief; it’s crazy to think of where we were and where we are now. Like I said, I’m extremely proud to get to that point. I give a lot of credit to the players and my coaches over the years.”
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