Five Minutes with Larry Smith, OC’s Jack-of-all-Trades

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Meet Larry Smith. At OC, he wears a number of hats and works with students as a professor, coach, academic adviser and more. You can catch him in his office at the Speare and Gruen Student Success Center where he helps students reach their academic and career goals, as well as on the field as an assistant football coach. He also works with students before they officially become Comets, directing the Olivet Opportunity, nicknamed the O2 program, for students who demonstrate they are ready to take on college. And on top of it all, he even co-teaches the College 101 course, helping students adjust to their new environment. While having so many campus roles may seem overwhelming at times, Coach Smith is dedicated to doing whatever it takes to help the students at OC succeed in all that they do.

Why do you love working at OC?

I love working with the students, staff and faculty because we are working together to assist students with an important part of their lives. The best part of my job is seeing the growth in students academically and socially in our campus environment.

Working with students academically and athletically has been a passion of mine since I began coaching at Wayne State University where I began connecting the athletic program with the Academic Tutoring Center on campus. To see students grow and succeed academically assures us as coaches of a student-athlete’s buy-in to the OC mission of being more and doing good.

Working as an academic mentor and coach allows me to engage with the student-athlete’s professors and coaches. Working on both fronts helps me hold the student accountable, academically and athletically.

What are some unique aspects of your roles?

This year, I assisted in coaching wide receivers and helped many freshman players adjust to college with additional academic assistance. Twice a week, I organized a study table that provided a great place to do homework, prepare for tests and more.

Professors and coaches are both teaching the student a specific set of skills that must be graded and evaluated. The students who are successful at learning have a better chance at passing an academic class or playing on game day, so my goal is to give all students the tools to do so.

Why is attending OC the “Best. Decision. Ever.” a student can make?

OC is the best decision because students get to develop long lasting relationships that prepare them for the real world and everyone is sincere about helping.

What are some things or events you look forward to in your role?

I really look forward to seeing the students’ academic growth from year to year until they graduate.

What is the number one piece of advice you share with student-athletes?

Don’t let what others say and think effect you and what your goals are, take advantage of opportunities when they are presented!

More about Coach Smith
  • Coach Smith has worked at OC for 14 years.
  • His wife, Cathy Smith, also works at OC. She serves as the executive assistant for the vice president for advancement.
  • Not many people know that Coach Smith is a country music fan.

Learn more about the ways OC helps students reach their goals, like the O2 program and Student Success Center, by contacting the Office of Admissions at 800.456.7189 or admissions@uolivet.edu.


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