Locust Valley football coach Fred Smith dies
Fred Smith brought the same approach to the football field as he did in every other aspect of his life.
"He was a taskmaster on the field, but he wanted to see his kids succeed off the field," said Kevin Smith, his son, who lives in Bayville. "He was very much into sportsmanship and doing things the right way, on the field and off the field."
Smith, 75, one of the winningest coaches in Long Island football history, died early Saturday morning after a battle with cancer, his son said.
Smith compiled a 202-104-15 record during his 38-year coaching career and guided Locust Valley to three consecutive Nassau Conference IV championships from 1985-87. His teams went 10-0 in 1985 and 1987.
Smith retired from coaching in 1998 after 30 years at Locust Valley. He began his coaching career at Friends Academy in 1961 and coached Cold Spring Harbor for two seasons. Locust Valley High named its football field after him in 2007 and established a scholarship in his name.
"He held everybody accountable, and kids respected that," said Kevin Smith, who played football under his father from 1985 to 1987. "As they grew into adults they still respected that. They'd come back to him time and time again for advice and to help them in their careers and in their lives."
Smith preached the same philosophy off the field with his family. "He held you to a high standard," Kevin Smith said. "He had very basic rules -- be where you're supposed to be, do what you're supposed to be doing, and be there on time. And if you followed those rules, a lot of things were very easy for you."
"Fred was one of the nicest gentlemen you could ever meet," Pizzarelli said. "He was a real man's man and wise beyond his years."
Nassau sports historian Jack White, of Garden City, recalled how a retired Smith would go up to the press box during Locust Valley games and help out any way he could. "He coached a small school," White said, "but built a tremendous program."
Smith is survived by his wife of 52 years, Virginia; sister Phyllis Johanson; daughters Holly Kromer and Kimberly Smith; son Kevin Smith; son-in-law Randy Kromer; and brother-in-law Wally Johanson.
Memorial services are from 2-4 and 7-9 p.m. and Sunday at Whitting Funeral Home in Glen Head. The funeral will be the Monday at Whitting.