CLASS OF 2000
Wally Smith was born March 12, 1911, in Wagoner, Oklahoma, where he attended grade school and earned 12 letters in high school sports. He played football, basketball, track, and tennis at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, where he was the only four sport letterman in the history of the school. After graduating, he received a Masters of Science Degree from Pittsburg State Teacher's College in Kansas and worked on his Ph.D. at Oklahoma State University. As a first lieutenant in the U.S. Navy, he served as a naval intelligence officer in World War II.
He coached sports in Missouri, Kansas, and Oklahoma. He married Marjorie Elliott on May 14, 1946, and the couple moved to Ponca City, Oklahoma, 1950. He taught all sports at Ponca City East Junior High School from 1950 to 1969 and then at Ponca City High School until 1984. He compiled an envious coaching record, producing many singles, doubles, and team champions. He was named "Coach of the Year" 13 times and National High School "Tennis Coach of the Year" in 1976. He coached 15 active big club teaching pros. The Ponca City Tennis Center is named the Wally Smith Tennis Center. He has been inducted into the Northeastern State University Athletic Hall of Fame and the Missouri Valley Tennis Association Hall of Fame.
Wally Smith left his mark in many ways. As a player, his many wins include a Missouri Valley Singles Championship. He spoke many times at tennis clinics in Oklahoma, Texas, and Florida. His articles, Wind Play in Tennis and Percentage Doubles, were published in various athletic journals.
Character, leadership, achievement, diligence, discipline, and integrity have been used to praise Coach Smith by those who played for him, worked with him, or coached against him. He filled his retirement years teaching tennis lessons at Ponca City until his death in 1996.