Bradley Boys Basketball Coach Kent Smith Takes Leave Of Absence

Puts 400-Win Career On Hold To Fully Recover From Knee Replacement Surgery

Tuesday, October 15, 2013 - by Larry Fleming

Veteran Bradley Central boys basketball coach Kent Smith, the school's all-time winningest coach with 400-plus victories, has decided to take a leave of absence for at least a year and complete his rehabilitation from knee replacement surgery.

Smith, 52, has coached the Bears for 17 seasons and made five state tournament appearances with runner-up finishes in 2000 and 2003. His grandfather, Tip Smith, also coached the Bears and influenced Kent to enter the teaching and coaching profession.

“I had total replacement of my right knee on July 30,” Smith said Tuesday. “At the time I planned to rehab and be back ready to go for the upcoming basketball season. I underestimated the recovery in the sense that I’m pretty pleased with the physical aspect of it, but mentally I’m not 100 percent ready with practice starting up pretty soon.”

Smith met with Turner Jackson, the Bradley Central athletic director, a couple of weeks ago and informed Jackson he was considering resigning. Jackson asked Smith to also consider another option – a leave of absence.

“My principal (Todd Shoemaker), who has always supported me, encouraged me to take a leave of absence," said Smith, whose first year at Bradley was the 1996-97 season. "(Monday) I was miserable and I couldn’t ask my players to invest 100 percent in our program if I couldn’t do that. I’m just not there yet.

“I busted my rear end, but I’m just not ready to coach and it’s more mental than physical.”

Smith said he’s also being putting off for four of five years needed dental procedures and plans to address that in the days and weeks to come.

Assistant coach Chuck Clark will take over the head coaching duties.

Smith began his career rotating between teaching positions at Oak Grove and Black Fox elementary schools after working briefly as his father’s American Uniform business.

“After a month I decided I wasn’t going to do that,” Smith said. “And I don’t think he really wanted me working for him either. I went back to school to get my teaching certification.”

Smith attended Cleveland High School and spent two years at Tennessee Wesleyan College in Athens, Tenn. He graduated from Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro.

Smith was asked if he plans to return to coaching for the 2014-15 season.

“I can’t answer that,” he said. “That’s the purpose of doing what I’m doing. When I had the procedure, I was told it would take six months to a year to fully recover. I’m hoping that come April or at least in summer camps I would be all in.

“We’ll just see. I could barely walk at the district (5-AAA tournament) championship game last season. Really, I was no good to anybody and that led me to this.”

In his time directing the program, Smith produced one Mr. Basketball, Josh Hare, in 2000 and had two other Mr. Basketball finalists – Justin Hare in 2003 and Terrence Oglesby in 2005.

Smith has a 436-145 overall record, a .750 winning percentage. His best single-season record was 37-2 in the 1998-99 season. He also had five other 30-win seasons, including a 36-3 mark in 2002-03.

Tip Smith went 325-58 over 10 seasons and won state titles in 19040 and 1942 and was inducted into the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame in 1975.

Smith had back-to-back losing seasons in 2007-08 (15-16) and 2008-09 (14-16), but posted winning records in each of the past four seasons. The best won-loss mark in that stretched was a 27-7 two years ago.

The veteran coach is 353-119 in regular season play and 73-30 in the postseason. He has won 82.2 percent of his home games (168-39), is 257-107 on the road and sports a 119-33 district record.

Smith has won nine district tournament titles, including six in a row, and finished runner-up four times. In his trophy case are eight region championships -- he won five straight during one stretch -- and five sub-state titles.

(E-mail Larry Fleming at larryfleming44@gmail.com)



Berger Leads GPS Past Pope John Paul II In Volleyball

Lilly Berger had 14 kills, six aces and 11 digs as the GPS volleyball team opened its 2017 season with a 3-0 win over Pope John Paul II in Hendersonville Friday afternoon. Emma Moore added 30 assists and 11 digs as the Bruisers won by scores of 25-14, 25-19 and 25-16. GPS STATS: Lilly Berger -- 14 kills, 6 aces, 11 digs Emma Moore -- 3 kills, 30 assists, 2 aces, 11 ... (click for more)

Lookouts Hold On To Win Third Straight Game Over Smokies Friday, 9-8

KODAK, Tenn. -- Jonathan Rodriguez homered and singled, driving home three runs as the Chattanooga Lookouts topped the Tennessee Smokies 9-8 on Friday. Chattanooga, winners of four straight games, leads second-place Montgomery by seven games. The magic number to clinch is down to 11. Lookouts right-hander Felix Jorge (10-3) picked up a quality start and the win after allowing ... (click for more)

City Seeks To Be Removed As Trustee Of Confederate Cemetery

Mayor Andy Berke on Friday said he has asked City Attorney Wade Hinton, on behalf of the city of Chattanooga, to file the necessary paperwork "to confirm the city is no longer listed as a trustee of a Confederate Cemetery on East Third Street." Mayor Berke said, “Our action today makes it clear that the city of Chattanooga condemns white supremacy in every way, shape and ... (click for more)

Judy Kay Peer, 69, Killed When Train Hits Her Car At Hamill Road Crossing In Hixson

Judy Kay Peer, 69, was killed on Friday night when a train struck her car in Hixson on Friday night. Ms. Peer, a Hixson resident, was driving a 2015 Hyundai Sonata. Police said she  was traveling west on Hamill Road and had stopped at the railroad crossing. The gates were extended with flashing lights and a sounding bell. A train that was traveling northbound on ... (click for more)

Mayor Invites Civil War II - And Response (12)

I just received an email from the Mayor stating that he filed paperwork to remove the city of Chattanooga as the trustee for the Confederate Cemetery on Third Street. I understand the Mayor's intent was to distance the city from it's racist past and subsequent hate, but I feel like this is an interesting move without much thought of the consequences. The Mayor prefaced his ... (click for more)

Confronting Racism In Public Education

Like most Americans, we have been bothered by the news in recent days. And as we have struggled to understand the racial issues that continue to confront our nation, we are left to ponder the issue even more within the context of public education.  The vast majority of Americans know that racism is wrong. It is one of the few issues on which almost everyone can agree. We ... (click for more)