HODGDON, Maine — Reaching 100 career varsity victories is no easy task for a coach in any sport.
Hodgdon varsity boys coach Rob Smith reached the coveted milestone Wednesday evening as the Hawks defeated Katahdin, 46-36, in a hard-fought game played in Stacyville.
“I knew the day was coming,” Smith said. “Last year, I started with 90 and had hoped to get it then, but that didn’t work out. This year, I started with 96 wins, so I felt pretty confident it would happen.”
Coach Smith said he has kept track of each year’s stats since he first got into coaching back in 2007 when he was hired as the junior varsity girls basketball coach working with head coach Olin Quint.
He served as the girls junior varsity coach for two seasons and spent one year as the junior varsity boys coach under Jerry Adams before taking over the boys varsity in 2010.
Growing up watching sports in the Atlantic Coast Conference, Smith said he was a big fan of coach Mike Krzyzewski of Duke. While living in Virginia, Smith said Raymond Clark was a big influence on him in his younger days.
“Raymond refereed ACC games and then coached recreation and AAU basketball,” Smith said. “Those two guys are who really inspired me to get into coaching.”
Smith said his approach to coaching is to treat his players more like family than students.
“I enjoy getting to know the young men,” he said. “I have formed some long-term relationships with many of my former players. Those relationships are what make (coaching) enjoyable.”
Smith attended Southern Wesleyan University in South Carolina, earning his bachelor’s degree in liberal arts, with a major in Christian ministries and a minor in youth ministry. He moved to Easton and was employed as a youth pastor at the Wesleyan Church in 2003 for one year before taking a similar position with the Chesnee Wesleyan Church in South Carolina from 2004-06. He and his wife moved back to The County in 2006.
After teaching in the SAD 70 system for a decade, Smith stepped away from the school to become pastor at the Hodgdon United Baptist Church in September, 2016.
Hodgdon has advanced to the postseason in seven of his nine years as the varsity coach. The Hawks won the state Class D state championship in 2014 with a 54-46 victory over Valley of Bingham.
Hodgdon is now 4-4 on the season, and the team has not yet reached its full potential, Smith said. His career record now stands at 100-68.