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McKENZIE — Larry Joe Smith is the co-head coach of the Bethel University Women’s Golf program. Smith will work alongside John Austin until May 2021 and then assume the role as head coach …
McKENZIE — Larry Joe Smith is the co-head coach of the Bethel University Women’s Golf program. Smith will work alongside John Austin until May 2021 and then assume the role as head coach of the Lady Wildcats.
Bethel Associate Athletic Director Brad Chappell stated, “I am really excited about the direction our golf programs are headed. The hiring of Larry Joe Smith for the women and John Austin for the men will continue that upward trend. Coach Smith and I have had many different relationships - teacher/student, coach/player, colleague, mentor and friend. Both are tuned in to the local golf scene and know what it takes to win. They are invested in our community and passionate about golf. I am really excited to bring these two guys on board and expect BU golf to continue finding success both on the course and in the classroom.”
Smith commented, “You never know when the good Lord will open a door of opportunity for you. As I end one career in public education, I look forward to the challenges of recruiting and coaching young ladies who not only love the game of golf, but are also eager to improve their game, while representing Bethel University with class and integrity.”
Longtime educator and coach, Smith, has 38 years of teaching and coaching experience, with two years at Desoto Academy in West Helena, Arkansas, and the last 36 at his high school Alma Mater, McKenzie High School.
During his coaching career, Smith was an assistant football coach, head boys’ and girls’ basketball coach, head baseball and softball coach, and the head boys and girls golf coach for 28 years, two in Arkansas and the last 26 at McKenzie.
Smith has amassed over 1,000 career wins as a golf coach that includes seven state tournament appearances with teams and multiple other state tournament appearances with individuals. He’s also was named West Tennessee Golf Coach of the Year three times, as well as a three-time club champion at Carroll Lake Golf Club in McKenzie.
Smith was a former student and golfer at Bethel University having played for former Bethel Golf coach, Dr. Jerry Wilcoxson. Smith is a graduate of Murray State University and also holds a Masters Degree from Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville.
With a degree in Education and a minor in radio and television, he has served as the long time play by play and public address announcer for the McKenzie football program.
Smith has been married 36 years to his wife, Tiffany, a Bethel graduate, and a current 4th-grade teacher at McKenzie. They have three sons, Marshall, Kendall, and Collin, five grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.