By: Alex Duh
At the end of this school year, Mr. Boo Smith (‘70) will be stepping down from his position as Head Coach of the Gilman Varsity Squash team. This marks a major change for Coach Smith, who has been a dominant figure in Gilman squash for the past eighteen years, thirteen of which have been spent as head coach. “I felt it was time to move on to a different phase of my life,” he explains.
The Gilman squash team has seen immense success with Coach Smith. In the ten years since the introduction of squash in the MIAA, the squash team has been a phenomenal 130-0 in league play and has held the title of champions for all ten years. “[We] are limited in the amount of time we can practice,” Coach Smith explains. Despite this, the team has been consistently competitive on a national level, beyond its local success. This is especially impressive, because unlike most of the schools they face, the Gilman squash team actually does not have courts of its own. On two occasions, Gilman has even placed in the top ten in the nation, including seventh this year. “This [year’s] team was as talented a team I’ve had. We were close to finishing fourth,” he added, “but the ball didn’t bounce our way.”
In addition to the tremendous success the squash team has found with their coach, Smith has also meant a great deal to the team on a personal level. “We talk a lot in the hallways,” Brad Levin (’17) explains. “He’s always been a help and I can go to him with any questions.” Braxton Antill (’17) adds, “What I think really separated him from the other coaches is that he really knew you, like on a personal level. He’s been a mentor, someone we can go to talk about… whatever we want.” Matt Katz (’17) was surprised about how friendly his relationship was with Coach Smith. “I know he’s the Dean, but we’re…. not always serious with each other.“ While Coach Smith will still have that sort of off-court relationship with students during class hours, he does feel a bit sad that he will no longer be able to “see their success on court every time they play.” Braxton summed it up, “He kind of means everything to us. “
So, what’s next for Coach Smith? He says that “the biggest thing will be that I’ll have some more time for myself and my family.” Along with coaching the squash team, Coach Smith also teaches three sections of Art History and serves as Dean of Students. When looking at how dedicated he is to each of his jobs in addition to his personal life, one wonders how he manages to find time for it all. Coach Smith admitted that “during squash season [he] had to come in every Sunday just to catch up.” Gilman is currently conducting its search for a new head coach. The athletic department is unsure who the new coach will be, but whoever it is will certainly have big shoes to fill.