Prep Baseball

Canton's Smith steps down after most successful run in program history

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Canton head coach Clint Smith, left. | H-W Photo/Michael Kipley
Michael Kipley 1|
By Herald-Whig
Posted: Jun. 25, 2019 12:20 am

CANTON, Mo. -- The words Canton baseball coach Clint Smith used to describe the last seven seasons made it seem like he was living in a fantasy.

"It was almost like a dream," Smith said.

Those seven years weren't fiction. Neither is the news Smith is stepping away.

He announced Monday he was resigning as the Canton baseball coach after seven years in the dugout.

In that span, the Tigers enjoyed their most successful run in program history. Smith guided Canton to a 119-32 record since 2013, with five district championships, a pair of Class 2 runner-up trophies and a fourth-place trophy from his first season.

Canton never had less than 12 victories in a season, and it never had double-digit losses under Smith.

Smith was a three-time Herald-Whig Coach of the Year during his tenure.

Leaving behind a strong program and the players past and present is difficult.

"These kids are more than just players to me," Smith said. "The relationships I've had and still have to this day, it was tough to walk away from that."

Smith said the biggest motivation for stepping down is family. His oldest son, Koy, just completed his freshman season on the Carl Sandburg College baseball team, and his son, Brody, just graduated from Canton.

This will give Smith more time to watch his youngest, Conner, play baseball.

"It's just a good time to focus on my kids," Smith said. "I just want to take some time off and be a dad."

With all of the success, Smith said he's most proud of the team he had this spring. The Tigers graduated four key seniors who led the Tigers to consecutive Class 2 state championship game appearances, and managed to go 13-5.

"We had a lot of question marks," Smith said. "We ended playing for a district championship and lost to the second-place team in the state."

Smith insists he's not finished coaching completely.

"I don't want to say this is goodbye," he said. "This is more like, ‘See you later.'"