WALLA WALLA — Longtime Walla Walla coach and teacher Jim Smith died Wednesday afternoon of unknown causes.
Smith, 63, taught in the Walla Walla School District for 27 years and has continued coaching for Walla Walla High School teams since his retirement from teaching several years ago.
He has been the defensive coordinator for the Blue Devil varsity football team, an assistant with the girls basketball program as coach of the Freshman A squad, and the head boys golf coach.
“He’s touched a lot of kids,” Wa-Hi athletic director Don Wilkins said. “It’s a huge loss to our athletic family. He’s ben a pretty special person to a lot of kids. He’s been a friend to all of us.
“He coached hundreds of kids and been an influence in their lives,” he said. “He was unselfish and gave to the kids anyway he could. He’s going to be greatly missed.”
Wa-Hi staff and students were notified late Wednesday afternoon.
“Jim Smith made a positive impact on the lives of thousands Walla Walla youth and will be greatly missed by his Wa-Hi family,” Superintendent Mick Miller said in a District release.
“It’s a huge loss, besides the kids, to our coaches, who have worked with him for years,” Wilkins said. “It’s a huge loss for our staff as well as our kids.”