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Bill Smiley
In Cross Country Legacies
Apr 28, 2020
I started coaching CC in 1978 with Smiles. What a GREAT guy!! My first job was with IBM, and I moved into an apt across from Wausau East HS. Went to an early CC season practice, and asked if I could run with his kids. He exclaimed, with what I learned was typical Smiles’ enthusiasm, “That would be great!”   I started running with the Boys, but ultimately started working more with the Girls, cuz they accepted & absorbed my coaching tips & suggestions much more readily (the Boys thought they knew everything already).  Those were great times. Smiles would have us drive to the Eau Claire Dells, and up to the park in Merrill, and School Forest down in Rothschild...lots of variety! Our Girls finished 2nd in Class A in 1978 (Yahara Hills)(unranked! 🙂), 2nd again in 1979 (tied with Racine Case—lost it on #6)(Yahara again), and 3rd in 1980 — on a course I devised at Wausau’s American Legion GC — slightly diff’t from Wausau Inv (later Smiley Inv).  Our Sarah Hintz won it in 1980, with her “little sister” Jennifer 3rd.  Jennifer Hintz won it in 1981, when it was again held at the Amer Legion course in Wausau (Jennifer was also 3200m State Champ in 1983).   I moved from Wausau down to Madison to earn my MBA degree in the early 1980s...but those were great years in Wausau.  Both Hintz girls ran REALLY well for St. Thomas — multiple times National Champs & All Americans. Sarah is a podiatrist up in Twin Cities—her daughter runs for St. Thomas. Jennifer works for Natl Park Service in Glacier Natl Park. We saw her on our family vacation out there a couple years ago.  I was at the inaugural Wausau East Hall of Fame ceremony, when both Smiles & Jennifer were inducted. Jennifer was also inducted into our WCCCA HoF many years ago — she & Sarah are also in the St. Thomas HoFame.  Jennifer’s 4 Wis. State CC finishes were: 7th, 3rd, 1st, and 4th (she had the flu😕)(the one year the meet was held w-a-y down at UW-Parkside: 1982).  Pretty good average place:  3.75. 👍 Kids loved Smiles!  He had his quirks (as we all do, right?), and the kids would poke fun at him, and he would just grin at them.  His enthusiasm & energy were phenomenal, and he was bursting with optimism and a can-do attitude. I rarely saw him angry or mad — though occasionally the Boys would “go too far” (the reason I left them for the Girls!) and he would have to chastise them, or even yell at them. But he held no grudges, and would quickly revert to his usual upbeat self.  When I saw him at the State CC Meet every year, usu. up on the scaffolding at the Finish Line ( even in his eighties, I swear, right, Jimmy?), we’d start reminiscing about this & that — until we both remembered there was a Race coming up! Oops! 👍😀 R. I. P  SMILES!! Smiley Invitational founder Bill Smiley leaves teaching, coaching legacy after recently passing away Shared by John Chandler


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