Mike Smith gets excited by a key defensive play during a semifinal game.

Mike Smith receives state football coaches' Right Hand Man award

Mike Smith, former Webb City Cardinals defensive coordinator, received the Doug Potts “Right Hand Man” Award on Dec. 7 during the annual Missouri Football Coaches Association banquet at Lake of the Ozarks.

Nominees for the award must have been an assistant coach for at least 25 years in Missouri and be nominated by their head coach.

Smith began his career at Stockton, where he was an assistant for seven years and the head coach for six years. In 2001, he came to Webb City, where he was an assistant coach and defensive coordinator for 19 years. He also taught industrial arts during his career.

For all of his time here, he was former coach John Roderique’s right hand man.

Here is Roderique’s nomination letter:

Mike Smith embodies everything that it means to be a “Right Hand Man” award winner in the Missouri Football Coaches Association. I can honestly say that he was my right hand man for 19 years at Webb City High School – 17 years as the defensive coordinator and two as the defensive backs coach. Indispensable and nnvaluable!

Mike has always been a dedicated and tireless worker and he is best known for the amount of time he put into breaking down our opponent’s film. I have never coached with anyone that has watched as much offensive film as Coach Smith. The time and preparation Coach Smith put into each of our games is second to none. Much of our defensive success over the years is a result of how well he had our players prepared every week.

I would also describe Mike as a ‘servant leader’ not only in our football program, but also in our school and the Webb City community. There has never been a task or coaching duty that Coach Smith would consider too small or too insignificant for him. Without complaint or question, Mike has always stepped up and been willing to work in any capacity on our staff. He has enthusiastically and successfully coached various positions on each side of the ball. He has also been an excellent mentor to both our new and veteran coaches – whether it’s teaching the foundation of our program or offering positive feedback, support and encouragement. He has always been willing to do what it takes to make the team better.

Every successful coach has a “Right Hand Man”  – the guy that they can confide in and trust and work with above all others. Coach Smith has been that person for me. For 19 years, he has been a confidant, a friend and a key part of our program.

In addition to Mike’s tremendous coaching career, he has proved to be an even better man. Mike is strong in his faith and loves to serve the Lord. He understands the importance of being a great husband and father to his wife, Janel, and their four children, and he values the opportunity to lead others to Christ.

Mike Smith is the Missouri Football Coaches Association 2023 Doug Potts “Right Hand Man” award.

An entourage of Webb City coaches Mike Smith has worked with accompanied him at the ceremony on Dec. 7 at Lake of the Ozarks. The coaches are Drew Gollhofer, Aaron Davied, John Roderique, Mike Smith, Ryan McFarland, Andrew Doennig, Trey Derryberry and Logan Walker.

Mike Smith and his family.