Smith hailed for dedication, commitment to Jamaica's cricket


Smith hailed for dedication, commitment to Jamaica's cricket

Observer staff reporter

Saturday, May 30, 2020

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Though still in shock at the passing of cricket Coach Cleon Smith, Jamaica Scorpions Head Coach Andre Coley is optimistic that his work and legacy, particularly with the national senior women's team, will live on for many years to come.

Smith died on Thursday at the Kingston Public Hospital after battling illness for some time. He was 60 years old.

He is survived by twin daughters, a son, and wife Sandra.

Coley was joined by the Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA), West Indies Players Association (WIPA), and Cricket West Indies, through its Director of Cricket Jimmy Adams, who expressed profound sadness at the news, while paying tribute to the decorated coach.

Smith, who hailed from the community of John's Hall in Manchester, was a long-time coach of St Ann Cricket Association. He had also guided Northern Panthers in the Jamaica Cricket Association Super League since 2017.

At the regional level, Smith, who had been a national coach since 2006, led Jamaica's women team to eight overall titles, including the 50-over competition in 2017 and the Twenty20 championship in 2018.

However, his involvement with the JCA goes as far back as 1995, when he worked with the boys' youth teams and served as a scout.

Up to the time of his death, he led the cricket coaching programme at the Brown's Town, St Ann-based, York Castle High School.

Coley, who shared fond memories of Smith, is still trying to come to grips with the news of his demise.

“It is a shock for sure; I know he was ill for a little bit, and he will be missed. I remember him as a self-sacrificing individual; obviously over the years we were able to spend time together on the field coaching and off the field as well, and I found him to be a very jovial character, always the comedian, but always a straight shooter whenever necessary.

“He believed so much in Jamaica's cricket and our ability to be the best that we can be, and you could see that when he worked with his players. He was always encouraging the female players and then even around the men's game, more so around the youth cricket, he was the same,” Coley told the Jamaica Observer.

“So he will be missed, and as a coach you always learn something new every day, and I know that from him, he always had that patience. So when I think about him going forward it is really about the good qualities that I could probably emulate, and I hope that his good work, especially with female cricket, will continue,” he added.

Courtney Francis, CEO of JCA, remembered Smith as a committed and easy-going individual.

“Coach Smith was the epitome of commitment to the sport. Cricket has been a lifelong love for him and his association with the JCA dates back well over a decade. It is quite a sad day for us at the JCA and across the local cricket landscape.

“Jamaica's cricket was better off for his years of dedicated service. Our thoughts and prayers are with the senior women's team in this moment, and we will reach out to provide support for them as they would be the hardest hit within the national programme,” said Francis, who extended condolence to the family.

Meanwhile, WIPA's secretary, Wayne Lewis, also hailed Smith for his unwavering commitment and selflessness.

“I found him to be a disciplined, dedicated, and hard-working coach. He got the best out of a number of his players and quite a few of them transitioned to the senior West Indies team.

“Mr Smith's passing is a massive blow to women's cricket in Jamaica. We pray for peace and strength for his family, friends, and colleagues at this time,” Lewis said in a release.

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