Ken Smith has long been at the forefront helping out kids, especially those who have played for him for over his three-plus decades as coach at Windsor High.
Currently, he is a part of the CARE (Coaches Advancement for Racial Equity) Committee, a group that recently formed to help try to run the state basketball showcases in late June to try and help kids be more visible for college coaches and programs.
When you have been around as long as Smith, 63, you win your share of games. And Smith has: 612 victories, fifth on the CIAC all-time list. He has also earned the respect of his peers.
Smith was voted the best coach in the CIAC game today by his fellow coaches in an informal GameTimeCT survey. They were asked to list their top three coaches.
“That’s outstanding. It means I am doing something good. I appreciate them and I’m glad they appreciate me,” Smith said upon finding out the vote. “If I didn’t have the kids that I have had, then it wouldn’t matter. Good players make good coaches.”
Coaches were provided anonymity in the survey, but some were more than happy to sing their praises about Smith.
“Ken Smith has produced consistent top 10 teams in the state since I was in middle school. His kids are tough, they know how to win and they develop under him,” Norwalk coach Matt Whelan said.
Said Canton coach Craig Archambault: “A true legend. He has been around the game forever and is one of, if not the best high school coach our state has ever seen. Some of my best memories as a player were playing against his Windsor teams. I have always admired how hard Coach Smith gets his kids to play, night in and night out.”
Luke Reilly from East Catholic finished second in the voting. East Catholic came into last year’s showdown against Windsor ranked No. 1 in the GameTimeCT Top 10 poll, then lost its only game last season at second-ranked Windsor.
“You can prepare for Luke’s teams and generally have success early in games, but he counters every move you make to benefit his team. Even though he has more talent than most, he still puts the time in scouting,” Bristol Central coach Tim Barrette said.
Andrew McCellan, who finished third in the voting, has led Ridgefield to three of the last four FCIAC championships.
“He is one of the best coaches in the state with what he’s done at Ridgefield,” Bethel coach Matt Lisi said. “Three FCIAC titles in four years at a suburban public school is unheard of. They have built as strong a program as possible from their youth travel teams to their high school team. All the credit in the world to him.”
- Ken Smith, Windsor, 23
- Luke Reilly, East Catholic, 16
- Andrew McClellan, Ridgefield, 14
- John Mirabello, Northwest Catholic, 13
- John Pinone, Cromwell, 12
- Nick Augelli, Crosby, John Pfohl, Kolbe Cathedral and Greg Stillman, Simsbury, 7
- Jeff Nielsen, Amity, and Reggie Tucker, Classical Magnet, 6
- John Cessario, Southington, Gregg Hunt, Wamogo and Kurt Reis, New Britain, 5