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Arkansas Coach John L. Smith Is Having An Awful Week
We’ve made some jokes about John L. Smith here recently. It was pretty easy to, what with his quirky personality embodied in his “SMILE!” press conference, and the fact that such a press conference seemed justified based on his Arkansas team’s woeful underperformance so far this season. John L., we figured, needed at least to see someone else smile if he had no reason to himself.
And then… things got worse from there. Turned out in addition to Arkansas’ season teetering on the brink of an early meltdown and pretty much everyone on the planet figuring he was on the brink of losing his job almost as soon as he’d gotten it, Smith was also over $25 million in debt. It was personal insult to professional injury, and made his bad week seem a little less funny – and even worse than it already had.
Sadly, it turned out Smith’s week was even worse than that.
On top of everything else, it was reported earlier that Smith’s younger brother Bart died on Monday, and that John L. Smith attended the funeral today. Arkansas released a statement saying the following:
“Coach John L. Smith flew to Idaho Falls last night following practice to attend the funeral of his brother (Bart) who passed away Monday.The funeral is being held this afternoon and Coach Smith will return to Fayetteville early this evening.”
As some have noted, this does place Smith’s press conference earlier this week in a different perspective (though not entirely different – again, Smith’s always marched to his own beat). Everyone knew Smith was having a difficult week – but only a few knew exactly how tough it was.
It’s impossible not to feel for Smith at this point – the football-related scrutiny comes with the job and who the hell knows what happened , but his brother dying is just awful. And piled on top of the other ordeals… damn if that doesn’t pretty much encapsulate the entire unpleasant and shitty side of life. Hopefully football can be an escape for him like it is for everyone who watches it – and hopefully those Razorback fans who showed such support for the players extend some their struggling coach’s way. Stay strong, John L.
Getty photo, by Wesley Hitt
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