NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — As he has so many times at Todd Stadium in Newport News throughout his career, Mike Smith won a football game. Saturday’s was just a bit different than the others because of the historical context.
Entering the day, Smith had 499 career wins as a high school football head coach.
When the clock hit zero and the Crabbers beat Menchville 25-14, Smith earned win number 500. That made him just the third coach in high school football history to do so.
“It means I’ve been coaching a long time,” Smith said after the game. Clearly, length of time isn’t the only factor in Smith’s tremendous success over the years. In his 51st season as head coach of the Crabbers, Smith has averaged 10 wins a year since he took over in 1971.
“Back in 1975 we won the state championship and that jump started everything,” Smith said. In fact, 1975 was his first of 12 state titles to this day. Many of Smith’s friends and family were in attendance for the game.
His daughter flew in from California with his grandson, his two sons watched from the sidelines and his wife of more than 40 years, Lisa, watched from the stands.
“For my part, I have to love the game, and I do,” she said afterward. “I don’t miss games. I’m here to support him and what he does. I love the Crabbers as he does. He loves the kids. He wants to see them do well. He just loves the kids.”
Beyond the field, Smith has always tried to keep a few pillars of his program the most important things.
“I’ve always thought character, being a good teammate and being a positive citizen when you leave here (Hampton). If you can’t take some social values from football, then you’ve lost the meaning of it and I truly believe that.”