Picayune native admires contributing to his former high school’s success

Published 7:00 am Saturday, August 13, 2016

During the summer, Picayune Memorial High School hired a new varsity golf coach that has bigger aspirations than winning the state competition.

Head Golf Coach Thomas Smith has lived in Picayune since he was 2-years-old. Smith said he has been around the sport most of his life, but started to play competitively in junior college at Pearl River Community College.

“I have always enjoyed playing golf. It’s a relaxing sport with great landscape and scenery. For as long as I can remember it’s always been a passion of mine to play and I am happy to be able to coach at Picayune,” Smith said.

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Even though Smith is doing what he loves, his plans as the golf coach go further than the courses.

“I want to help the school accomplish more than they are already achieving. It’s always an amazing feeling to give back to your community. I believe every coach should have the goal of not only winning, but also contributing to the successes and positive reputation of the school,” Smith said. “To me, this job is much more than just coaching.”

Smith enjoyed watching golf professionals like Tiger Woods while growing up, which took his passion even further.

“I love the game. It’s just you against the golf course. That individual challenge is something I appreciate greatly,” Smith said.

His favorite part of golf is the short game, which also is his strong point. Getting around the pin, whether it is chipping, putting or short iron play, is one of the best feelings, Smith said.

With high school golf starting in the spring, Smith’s prediction of what is to come is unknown. However, his expectations are always the same for every year.

“We want to go all the way, whether that be states or nationals. We are going to take it one day at a time. I try not to go too far ahead of myself, especially this far out of the season, but I do expect a lot out of these kids,” Smith said.

The golf team usually has eight to 10 students on the team with five that compete regularly.