By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
Retired longtime athletic director Fred Smith has been selected to receive a Citation from the National Federation of State High School Associations during the 50th National Athletic Directors Conference sponsored by the NFHS and National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (NIAAA) on Dec. 16 in National Harbor, Md.
NFHS Citations are presented annually to outstanding athletic directors in recognition of contributions to interscholastic athletics at the local, state and national levels. State associations nominate athletic directors for NFHS Citations, and the NFHS Board of Directors approves recipients.
A 1979 graduate of Western Michigan University, Smith began his career at St. Joseph Lake Michigan Catholic Schools, serving for 11 years. In 1991, he joined Comstock Public Schools, where he served for 16 years. Smith move to Buchanan Community Schools in 2007, where he remained until 2015 before departing for his final stop as athletic director at Benton Harbor for two years. He retired in 2017, serving 38 years total as a teacher, coach and administrator, and resides in Stevensville.
Among his accomplishments, Smith instituted awards programs to recognize three-sport (or more) student-athletes who participated for their full, four-year high school career. Additionally, he assisted with the development of an evaluation tool for coaches and helped provide funding for coaches to attend the MHSAA's Coaches Advancement Program.
Smith was a member of the MHSAA Representative Council from 2005 to 2017, including the final four years as vice president. He also served on several MHSAA committees, and he hosted countless MHSAA District and Regional tournaments. With the Michigan Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (MIAAA), he has served as chair of its Professional Development Committee as well as a member of its executive board from 1993 to 1998.
Smith was a member of the NIAAA Board of Directors (1996-98), Credentials Committee (1989-96) and Hall of Fame Screening Committee (2010-18). He has been heavily involved in the NIAAA’s Leadership Training Institute. He is national course chair for LTC 501, and he has presented Leadership Training Courses in 14 states. Smith also served on the NIAAA Executive Director Search Committee, and he has attended 34 National Athletic Directors Conferences.
Smith has been honored with numerous awards. He has previously received the NIAAA Distinguished Service Award, the NIAAA Thomas E. Frederick Award of Excellence, the NIAAA Frank Kovaleski Professional Development Award, and the MHSAA Charles E. Forsythe Award.