THE MOTIVATOR EXTRAORDINAIRE
Head Coach, George Washington High School Volleyball and Herbert Hoover High School Softball
SUPERPOWER: TEAM BUILDING
Missy Smith is a competitor. She grew up watching her dad, Nip, and her grandfather, Lawrence, coach softball, and as soon as she was old enough to swing a bat, she began playing T-ball. She continued playing sports with her sister, brother, and cousins from the time they were kids through college. “I knew coaching was something I wanted to pursue, and I knew education would lead me down that path,” Smith says. After graduating from Concord University, she began teaching in Kanawha County.
Just a few years after she started teaching, Smith became head volleyball coach at George Washington High School and head softball coach at Herbert Hoover High School, where she’d graduated in 1996. Smith has guided both teams to multiple state titles in the same calendar year. “It feels like a calling,” Smith says. “I feel this is where I’m supposed to be.” Many of her players continue at the college level, and many have been state players of the year. Smith has been named MaxPreps National Softball Coach of the Year and the Van Meter Award winner as West Virginia High School Coach of the Year. Like her dad and grandpa, she communicates well with her players and expects them to give their best. “I’m competitive, and I expect a lot, but I feel I give a lot to them, too.”
For Smith, the relationships are just as rewarding as the championships. While playing or coaching, she says, the team becomes like an extended family. To her, true success is seeing her former players stop by a practice when they’re in town or seeing a Facebook post from them wishing the current team luck.
No matter how far her athletes take their careers, Smith hopes to teach them life lessons to be successful. “My mom, Regina, and my grandma and aunts, they raised me to be strong,” she says. “I feel like that’s what I’m supposed to push on to the next generation of girls.”
Learn more about our Wonder Women
Since 2014 WV Living magazine has been honoring West Virginia Wonder Women, amazing women who are raising the bar in their communities, serving as beacons of light in their industries, and forcing change for the greater good. WV Living is proud to celebrate these Appalachian mothers, millennials, and mavens proving that in a time full of uncertainty, divisiveness, and hate, love for one another is all we really need. No need for bulletproof bracelets or a golden lasso of truth—these women are creating a better West Virginia with their can-do attitudes and Mountain State spirit.