By Tim Chambers
Monday was a tragic day for Johnson County’s football team and its coaching staff after receiving news just before their junior varsity game with Hampton that assistant coach Randy Smith had been killed in an automobile accident while on his way home from work in Boone back to Johnson County. He was 52.
Randy began his Johnson County football coaching days with the youth league and later moved to the junior high football team helping head coach Matt Bray in 2014. He switched over to the high school three seasons ago where he has been since.
Randy grew up in Elizabethton loving sports and played football at Hampton High School. He was an outstanding quarterback on the team and a pretty good baseball player.
He spent nearly all of his life coaching and working with kids in the Carter and Johnson County area after graduating from high school.
I first met Randy while I was president of the Elizabethton Junior Babe Ruth League. He came to me wanting to coach, and I was glad to have him on board. He did an excellent job there, and it continued for many more years until his death yesterday.
Current assistant football coach Matt Bray praised Randy for the great job that he did.
“He taught me a lot about the defense when he first came and coached middle school,” said Bray. “They kids loved Randy, and he was very knowledgeable about the game.
Current head coach Don Kerley called me on Tuesday morning and told me of Randy’s passing.
“He was a good coach and fun to have around,” said Kerley. “Randy was a great guy and one of a kind.”
Smith had recently been hospitalized with double pneumonia at Ballad Hospital in Elizabethton two weeks ago but was back on the sidelines at Chuckey-Doak last Friday helping coach the defense.
He lived his life helping kids and will definitely be missed by the Johnson County football team. The current senior class is the first group of kids that Smith coached as seventh graders.
He leaves behind his wife Debbie and his children.
Let us all say a prayer for his family and “rest in peace,” Coach Randy. Your football family and I will definitely miss you at Johnson County High School.
End of Story
Pictures: Pic 1: Coach Randy Smith (far right) is pictured with assistant coaches Tom Kerley and Matt Bray after they defeated Unicoi County last year to win the conference championship.
Pic 2: Coach Randy Smith (left) is pictured with Matt Bray during their junior high coaching days at JCMS.