ZHS mourns the loss off beloved coach Chris Smith

The Zephyrhills High School athletics community is mourning the loss of girls’ basketball coach Chris Smith, who passed away suddenly Tuesday. He turned 50 Dec. 18.

Smith, who has coached the Lady Bulldogs basketball program for six seasons, has touched the lives of dozens of players on his way to a 75-58 record and multiple playoff appearances. Smith coached the Lady Bulldogs to a 31-20 win over Anclote Friday night.

“He was a wonderful human being who loved our kids deeply,” said ZHS Principal Dr. Christina Stanley.

“I think the way kids are today, coming from broken families, he was like a father figure to a lot of his players,” said ZHS Athletic Director Bruce Cimorelli. “He was so good with the kids.”

Cimorelli, who coached Smith at ZHS and oversee his program, still can’t believe the news. Smith, Cimorelli and long-time boys basketball coach Alan Reed were traveling companions this fall to the ZHS road football games.

A team meeting with players, parents, counselors and administrators was held this afternoon. The girls are scheduled to play in a tournament Wednesday.

“I just saw him Friday night and shook his hand, congratulated him on the win and wished him a Merry Christmas,” Cimorelli said. “I got the call and can’t believe it.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *