MAYODAN — After one season as the head varsity baseball coach at McMichael High School, Bobby Smith said he is retiring from the game.
The old-school, no nonsense, small-ball coach said at this point in his life, it’s time to focus on family at his home in Stokes County.
“After 16 years of coaching high school baseball — 13 as a head coach and over 200 wins — I decided to retire from coaching and spend more time with my grandkids,” Smith said via email Monday. “I have two grandsons playing sports, and I rarely get to see them. I missed 12 of their baseball games this spring. I also have a granddaughter that we pick up from school a couple days a week, and I can’t do that during our season and offseason workouts. I still love coaching, but I need to be with my grandkids and be more involved in their lives.
“I want to thank AD coach (DMHS Athletics Director Thomas) Horton and the administration at McMichael and my assistant coaches Robert Robledo, Shane Woodall and Mark Lathrop and our field guy Tommy Wright who kept our field in primo shape during the year. I also want to thank the players and parents at all the schools I coached at for believing in our system.”
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Discipline and respect for the game were the tenants of what he brought to coaching, and even though his tenure was short at McMichael, his influence in the dugout will be warmly remembered for years to come for the Phoenix faithful.
Smith previously coached at South Stokes, Walkertown and Elkin and brought a proven pedigree of excellence to DMHS.
The McMichael job had been on Smith’s radar for many years due to the area, kids and championship pedigree of the program he said. When the position came open after former head coach Clark Erskine stepped down, he initially jumped at the chance. In addition, Smith had long-standing relationships with many current and former players through US Elite Showcase teams, so it seemed a perfect fit when the job opened up.
But ultimately, he had to do what was best for his family and make the call to step down.
Smith started coaching baseball at South Stokes High School as an assistant under Gary Nail and helped the Sauras win three-consecutive NCHSAA 1-A championships in 2002, 2003 and 2004.
He later became the first-ever coach at Walkertown from 2012 to 2019, leading the Wolfpack to back-to-back conference titles prior to accepting the McMichael job in early 2022.
Smith and Robledo have been together since the Walkertown days. Robledo works with the pitchers, and he is second-to-none in his knowledge of the game and expertise, Smith said. It’s unclear at this point if Robledo will become a head coaching candidate or remain a part of the staff.
Over the course of their coaching relationship, the duo routinely had a team ERA that was always one of the top two or three in their conference alignments every year.
At press time, the McMichael Athletics Department had not established a time frame on a search for a new coach.
Smith guided the Phoenix to a 17-7 record and earned a NCHSAA playoff bid in his final season.