Mentor for Life

Jun 17th, 2013 | By | Category: Advancement

BY Jim Wentworth

My wife Debbie and I traveled to California in March where we met up with Wesley Hall of Fame Coach Dick Smith and his wife Nancy. We had a wonderful visit that also included former player Richard Brown ’64 and his wife Mary. We reminisced about the years from 1961 to 1966 when Coach Smith was the football coach at Wesley.

Back row, left to right: Richard Brown ’64 and wife Mary, Debbie Wentworth and Nancy Smith; seated, left to right: Coach Dick Smith and Coach Jim Wentworth.

I presented him with a signature football from the 1963 undefeated season to add to his Wesley memorabilia. Dick coached both the 1962 and 1963 teams to unbeaten seasons. The Wolverines were ranked 5th in the country in 1962 and 2nd in the country in 1963. These were the only years Wesley’s football team was undefeated and untied. Richard was a starting member of both perfect seasons, and he still values Coach Smith’s significant influence on his life today.

Coach Smith was always a mentor to me. He was a natural at turning individualism into a true team commitment. Those years spent with him had a profound effect on me as I was just starting the coaching profession. His method of motivating players to work diligently served as a foundation upon which my own coaching career was built.

Getting to see Coach Smith after 40 years was one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life. Over the years I have had the pleasure of visiting with former players and always find it rewarding to see that the place I cherish also had a positive impact on their lives. I will treasure the memories from this reunion and hope that others will reach out to Coach Smith, myself and other players to continue our special bond.

I would also encourage former players, if they are ever in the San Diego area, to visit Coach Smith and Nancy and share the difference he made in your life. If you are not able to visit in person, I’m sure he would love to hear from you by email at

I give thanks to God for my wonderful life at Wesley College where so many of my friendships began including Coach Smith. I am a strong believer in giving back and supporting education; your support is vital to the continued success of Wesley College.

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