Mentor for Life

Jun 17th, 2013 | By admin | 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 coachis@cox.net.

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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