Inside the life of Mr. Eddie Smith

Learn more about Mr. Smith, everyone’s favorite substitute teacher

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Staff photo

Senior Rain Mason enjoys a treat from Mr. Smith’s famous bowl of candy. A former English teacher at St. Pius X, Mr. Smith is now students’ favorite substitute teacher.

Rain Mason, Staff Writer

Mr. Eddie Smith is a former English teacher and football coach at St. Pius X who is now retired, though he still makes classrooms fun while serving as a substitute teacher. The students who have been lucky enough to have him in one of their classes know him for his outgoing personality, his great sense of humor, giving candy to the students, and his distaste for modern-day music.

Mr. Smith is a very interesting man who is a pleasure to speak with and learn about. It is important to note that he claims that he is not a serious person.

Growing up, Mr. Smith said, “I wanted to be a cowboy,” he said. “Either that or a fighter pilot for the Americans.”

Mr. Smith ended up being neither of those two things, but he realized he had a passion for coaching while he was attending the University of Georgia.

“I wanted to coach. My senior year at Georgia, I realized that was what I wanted to do,” he said. “Two straight summers, I had helped my old high school coach in the summer, and I enjoyed it.” 

Mr. Smith coached for 45 years. He claims to have coached almost every sport except baseball and wrestling. Baseball was too slow for him, but for wrestling, he just has something against wearing tights. “It was not a good sight,” he said.

Out of all of the sports he coached, football was his favorite. He spent a lot of his life involved with football, and he has seen the field from multiple perspectives.

“I was a quarterback in high school and I went to Georgia and played defensive back. When I got out, I coached offensive and defensive line all my life, even though I was a quarterback, but I loved every minute of it,” he said.

Mr. Smith was also an English teacher at the schools he coached.

“I majored in journalism and English, and I loved English and I hated everything else. In math I was terrible. I cheated for D’s.”

He spent the first 32 years of his coaching and teaching career in public education, but eventually found himself at St. Pius, where he would spend the next several years doing what he loved. When asked about what brought him to St. Pius, he explained that he knew two people that were here. Longtime head football coach for the Golden Lions, Paul Standard, was a man Mr. Smith had previously worked with at Dacula. Mr. Smith also knew former principal Mr. Steve Spellman, as they had attended the University of Georgia together.

Mr. Smith loved the time he spent at St. Pius, it is what keeps bringing him back to serve as a substitute teacher every once in a while. He has many fond memories from St. Pius.

“Here, I’d leave every day, look up, and thank God,” he said. “Something happened every day that I loved. Way too many [memories] on the football field and in the classroom, the jokes and stuff I’d tell, the writings on the board, stuff like that. It was just fun. Luckily, I never got in trouble for it.”

Teaching and coaching are Mr. Smith’s passions. He dedicated most of his life to it. For those wondering what makes it all worth it to him, it is the students.

“Students like you, that’s what makes teaching fun, and I enjoy trying to make it fun for them too,” he said. “I don’t know if they learned anything, but they had fun.”

He stated that one of his regrets from his life as a working man is that he never became a marine.

“I was a killing machine ready for war!” he exclaimed.

That JJ Cool L, Snoop Doggy Poop, Two Packs of Sugar, then there’s that hard rock stuff like ABCD and Metallica [he pronounced it ‘metal-eeca’]. God, what kind of music is Metallica, man?”

Mr. Smith is known for giving candy to his students, passing around a basket filled with an assortment of treats. Peppermints, fun-sized chocolates, and butterscotch flavored hard candy can all be found in the basket.

As for his personal favorite, he said, “I don’t know, because I don’t eat it.”

He went on to explain that he is not able to taste and smell a lot of things due to the treatment he underwent for his throat cancer in 2013.

A lot of students also know Mr. Smith for his distaste for modern-day music, especially hip-hop. The jokes he makes about it are enjoyable to listen to when he substitutes classes. When asked about his feelings towards newer music, his answer should come as no surprise.

“Nah, it’s bad for you man,” he said. “That JJ Cool L, Snoop Doggy Poop, Two Packs of Sugar, then there’s that hard rock stuff like ABCD and Metallica [he pronounced it ‘metal-eeca’]. God, what kind of music is Metallica, man?”

He prefers music from the ’60s, when he grew up. He made sure to clarify that he grew up in the 1960s, not the 1860s.

“I love the old stuff. I grew up with the Beatles, the Stones, the Doors, Hendrix, you can’t top that, and y’all are still listening to that now,” he said.

He also spoke about his life as a retired man. His experience is similar to that of a person who has just finished watching a long-running TV series. After you’re done, you’re not sure what to do with yourself for a while.

“The first two years of my retirement were tough,” he said. “I’m serious, I didn’t have anything to do. I was going crazy, but subbing two or three days a week here saved me.”

Thankfully, Mr. Smith has since adjusted to the new lifestyle.

“I do just about anything I want to do. I play golf twice a week. I stay off the internet, I don’t watch the news, I don’t read the newspaper, it’s too depressing.”

Mr. Smith then left with his best advice.

“I always tell my seniors to never let education interfere with college,” he said. “And I mean that because college is a great experience. Enjoy the moment. If you don’t then you’re missing out.”

It is safe to say that Mr. Smith has spent his whole life enjoying the moment and continues to do so. From his days playing football to his days coaching it, all the time he got to spend with his students and players, and the time he spends now with students as a substitute, he has never failed to make an impact on the people he has crossed paths with.