Community pushing to celebrate life of late coach

Published: Nov. 25, 2020 at 7:36 PM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - During the coronavirus pandemic, it’s hard to give anyone the goodbye they deserve.

Holt Head Coach Chad Fulk says that hanging a banner is the least they could do for a coach that means so much to the community.

“Most of who I am is not only from my parents, but because of him,” he said.

Fulk says he first met Mike Smith as a quarterback for the Rams.

Instead of playing in college, he tells News 10 he decided to take up coaching and Smith gave him that chance after graduation.

“I’d been coaching with mike ever since 1995. He and I went to Olivet College together,” he said.

Now many years after their coaching adventures and a few weeks after his passing, Fulk and Smith’s family are hanging a banner in front of their stadium.

“That way people can drive through and say their goodbyes at somewhat different times throughout the weekend here where there’s not necessarily a lot of people there so that we can stay safe,” Fulk said.

Fulk says they’re also hoping to name Holt’s stadium after Smith.

“We’re hoping that can happen before next year. There will also be some beautifications named after that stadium, to make it a little more appealing. He used to joke about our stadium being a chain-link heaven, and that we use most of the chain-link in Michigan- just at our stadium,” he said.

Fulk says it’s the least he can do to memorialize Coach Smith and that even if they held a funeral for him, they don’t know where they could find a big enough space.

“There are just so many people that he’s inspired and become friends with along the way,” he added.

Fulk tells me that once the virus becomes less of a problem, he hopes people can get together and honor Coach Smith with a ceremony.

Smith’s family is setting up a scholarship fund in his name to help students go to college.

Anyone from schools where Smith coached will have a chance to earn the scholarship.

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