Smith inducted into Samford Hall of Fame
Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 22, 2019
For more than 20 years, Coach Paul Smith has been working with those who are interested in playing tennis at T.R. Miller.
From four courts next to the baseball field, to a new complex holding six new courts, tennis has now taken its place as a sport that is to be reckoned with.
Most of this buildup has come about through the efforts of Coach Smith. With the help of the Greater Brewton Foundation and the Curtis Finlay Foundation, the new courts were added recently.
Recently Smith was inducted into the Samford University Sports Hall of Fame as a former alumnus.
Smith was born and raised at Slocomb, Ala. and graduated from Slocomb High School in 1967.
He was very active in sports, participating not only in tennis, but also baseball, track and football.
After graduating from high school, he entered Samford University on a football scholarship. He graduated from Samford in 1972 and went to work at Vulcan Metal Products managing construction products. “I met and married Janice Jackson at Samford,” he said. “She was from Florala, but she had ties to Brewton.”
The couple moved to Florala, where Smith operated a Sears Catalog Store for several years, while at the same time working on his masters degree in education at Troy University. He then taught school at Straughn High School from 1993 to 1997 when he came to Brewton to teach English at T.R. Miller High School. After a few years at the high school, he taught English at the Brewton Middle School and coached football for a couple of years.
“I always planned to get more involved with tennis,” he said. “Coach Riggs asked me to work with the varsity tennis team at the high school. To begin with it was slow and we didn’t have too many people wanting to play tennis, but it gradually changed. We now have an exceptional tennis team. T.R. Miller is number one in public schools in the state. There are private schools that do very well, but most of them have larger funding.”
Smith said he is very grateful for the recognition his alma mater has paid him. He doesn’t toot his own horn very much, but while he was at Samford, he was voted MVP a couple of times, had 16 career interceptions and eight interceptions in a season.
Smith and his wife, Janice, have four children, three boys and one girl. He also has six grandchildren.