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Unsung Hero

This will be the second go-around for Assistant Athletic Director Chuck Smith as he has been deployed to the Middle East to serve in the operations department for the Air Force. 

Smith first was deployed in 2007 and came back to serve as assistant athletic director in 2008.
He feels the military has been a calling for him since he has been in high school.

Smith will be working for Red Horse; which is a rapid response civil engineer unit.
The job they have him doing in the Air Force is comfortable for him because it is similar to the role he plays as assistant athletic director.

“We track personal and we also mainly track projects. What’s funny is that position in the Air Force department is similar to what I do here as assistant athletic director,” Smith said. “Some things I learn there (Air Force) I bring here (TJC), and some things I learned here I correlate into what I do in the Air Force.

“I enlisted 11 years ago and it is something that I feel like has been called for me to do, so I keep enlisting and re-upping,” Smith said.

Coming from Texas A&M prior to his job at Tyler Junior College, Chuck views his time interning at TJC as a, “right place, right time scenario.”

“In fall of 2005 I did a internship here and in spring of 06 (2006) Dr. Drain encouraged me to apply for the job and told me I would do a good job,” Smith said. “I got the job in May 2006 and the rest is history.”

What Smith does in his position is updating the athletic website, and making sure everything is set for each Apache team prior to playing a game

“I do a lot of website updating, some of the game day and event managing, but mainly sports information and game operation.”

The workload varies each week but even on slow days, those are days in which it is important for him to move ahead a little bit.”

“It varies each day/week. If there is a big volleyball tournament coming up, I have to make sure the roster is correct and printed, and make sure it is posted online and sent to the media,” Smith said. “I have to make sure the locker rooms are clean, the training rooms are set and ready to go.”

The staff has high expectations when visiting team arrives and replicate their performance to big universities when it comes to fan and player experience.

“We try to model after big schools such as Division 1 (universities). We want the visiting population, not just the players, but fans to have best experience they can get.”

Athletic Director Dr. Tim Drain values Smith’s role and labeled him as the unsung hero for his job, which his contributions can be unnoticed.

“You never know what you got till it’s gone,” Dr. Drain said. “ Chuck would do a lot of the managing and he will definitely be missed here. Replacing him right now is kind of tough but as a staff we will be ok.”

Football Head Coach Danny Palmer also feels the effect of not having Chuck around and is appreciative of what he does for TJC and for his role in the military.

“We already miss him. The players know what he did for us and the underlining, not very recognizable role he played,” Palmer said

When the football players go out on the field prior to kick off they carry American flags not just in dedication of Chuck Smith, but to every soldier employed like chuck that is fighting our freedom.

“I have our players carry the flag running to the field and hold them during the national anthem to make them understand the importance of what the soldiers in the whole military do for us,” Palmer said

Written By: Ani Umana

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