Coach Carroll Hayden Smith, age 86 of Knoxville, passed away on June 23, 2020, at home where he longed to be after spending over 2 months in the hospital and two rehab facilities, separated from loved ones because of the Covid-19 lockdown.
Carroll dedicated his life to teaching at the high school and community college levels, but he is best known in the east Tennessee area for his success as a men’s basketball coach where he mentored hundreds of young men through his 37 years of coaching and teaching.
His first job as a young man was coaching at Holston High School (1959-1972) where he built a renowned basketball program with 11 of 13 teams reaching district semi-finals or better. In 1972, he went to Oak Ridge High School (1972-1979). While there, he published a book, The 1-2-2 Offense for Winning Basketball. Later in the mid-90s, he wrote and produced a basketball video for children, Basketball Shooting Drills. During the years at Holston and Oak Ridge, Carroll coached son Rick in basketball and daughter Robin in tennis. In 1979 he went to Roane State Community College where he taught, coached and was Athletic Director and Chairman of the physical education department. His teams’ accomplishments included 13 District Championships, 4 Regional Championships, 2 Sub-State Championships, and State Runner-up in a heartbreaking triple-overtime loss to Alcoa. Five of his last 8 years as a high school coach, his teams made it to Sub-State competition. His career record was 550 wins.
At all three schools he was Coach of the Year; in 1972 he was east All Star Coach. He was President of KIL coaches 6 years and served as Secretary-Treasurer and Vice President of Tn. Junior College Athletic Association., and was inducted into the KIL Hall of Fame. His primary goals for all his players were to strive for academic excellence and become a community leader for youth. Besides the countless students who loved and respected Carroll through the years, his legacy lives on through grandsons Brad and Brandon Smith who both coach basketball in the Atlanta area. Carroll was also immensely proud of his other grandsons, Brian and Jeff Sells, commissioned officers in the US Army attaining the rank of Captain. Brian currently serves as an Army Ranger. Thirty-two years ago when Carroll and Charlotte married, Carroll took on the new role of step-father to 3 young boys. But who was better qualified for guiding them into responsible adulthood than someone who devoted his life to young men? He became involved in their sports, serving as President of the Football and Soccer Boosters Clubs at Halls High School and directing basketball camps there. During this second phase of his life, Carroll also discovered a softer side when he was captivated by a tiny rescued kitten who chose him as her protector. That was the beginning of loving all the dogs and cats that were lucky enough to come to the Smith home. For years, he even made daily breakfast runs to McDonald’s with dogs Buddy and Max. Carroll was born in Hitchita, OK., graduated from Okmulgee High School and Oklahoma Baptist University where he played basketball (1956-58). He received his master’s degree from UT Knoxville.
Carroll was a member of Beaver Dam Baptist Church and, until the age of 84, played tennis at Cedar Bluff Racquet Club. He was a proud US veteran of the Korean War serving as border patrol in Germany.
Carroll is survived by his loving wife of 32 years, Charlotte Smith; children, Rick (Kim) Smith, Robin (Ray) Sells; stepsons, Jason Teague, Justin (Sofie) Teague, Preston (Ashley) Teague; grandchildren, Brad (Tyler) Smith, Brandon (Bethany) Smith, CPT Brian (MJR Carley) Sells, Jeff Sells, Natalie Teague; great-grandchildren, Wilson, Maverick, Leighton and Eason Smith; sister, Karla Kay (Don) Best; several nieces and nephews.
The family would like to thank the staff at Amedisys Hospice for their exceptional care.