A special guest with a paw that dipped deep into Stockton High School Tigers history was in attendance at the 15th annual Sportsman’s Banquet at First Southern Baptist Church on Saturday, May 22.
That special guest was Mike Smith, who was the head football coach at Stockton High School prior to working as defensive coordinator for Webb City High.
“This is where it all began,” Smith told the audience. “This was my first job. … Everything I learned in coaching all started right here.”
As the Stockton Tigers football team’s head coach from 1995-2001, Smith oversaw a 45-19 record with three district championships. Prior to becoming head coach, Smith was defensive coordinator for the Tigers from 1988-1994, seeing the Tigers snag a 58-15 record.
Additionally, Smith also assisted in boys’ basketball, baseball and track and served as the girls’ basketball coach at Stockton.
As defensive coordinator for the Webb City Cardinals from 2001-2017 and 2020, Webb City saw a 219-17 record with nine state championships, as well as 17 district championships and 16 conference championships.
At FSBC’s Sportsmans Banquet, Smith spoke fondly of his memories in Stockton and how his time as a Tigers coach carried him through in his career.
After all, Smith said, a fulfilling coaching career isn’t about “the rings” — it’s about “the relationships you build along the way.”
One important relationship Smith built during his time at Stockton was with former Stockton High School head coach Lynn Erickson, a member of the Missouri Football Coaches Association’s Hall of Fame.
Smith thanked Erickson — who was in attendance at the banquet — for all of the “knowledge” and “opportunity” he passed down to him.
Later in Smith’s speech, he also spoke on how his spirituality and faith has impacted his view of coaching.