GRAFTON—For just the second time in the last 77 years, the Van Meter Award (given annually to the WV Prep Coach of the Year) has been won by a female.
Missy Smith, who guided both of her high school squads (George Washington volleyball and Herbert Hoover softball) to state championships this season, becomes the first woman to win the award since Annette Olenchick claimed the award in 2003 after also winning two state titles in softball and girls basketball for Sissonville High School.
Smith beat out former Martinsburg football head coach Dave Walker, Oak Glen football head coach Ted Arneault Jr., Bridgeport baseball head coach Robert Shields, and Wheeling Catholic Central football head coach Mike Young.
Her first goal was a Class AA three-peat with her Huskies’ softball team, who had just come off an incredible 33-0 season and an 11-1 trouncing of Chapmanville in 2018’s championship game.
After starting off the 2019 season 11-0 and outscoring opponents 136-6, the Huskies were dealt their first loss of the year, a 9-8 setback to Sissonville. That loss proved to only fuel the fire even more as Herbert Hoover would go on another run, picking up 24 straight victories with the sweetest one coming in the state championship game, a 5-1 triumph over the Petersburg Vikings.
“Hoover has always been a winner and I’m happy just kind of not to let the ship sink,” explained Smith. “We’ve been lucky to be pretty consistent over the last three years, but Hoover was a winning program when I took it over.”
Herbert Hoover’s softball team has now won 69 of their last 70 games.
In volleyball, Smith was able to take a George Washington team who had missed the state tournament the season prior and turn them into a title contender just one year later.
The Patriots got hot late, knocking off 14-straight opponents including Musselman in the Class AAA championship, to claim their first title in four years.
And at just 41 years old, Smith says she doesn’t see herself stepping away from coaching anytime soon.