Smith manages clock at Natchez

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 17, 2000

George Smith knew how to manage the clock as a football and basketball coach at Thompson and North Natchez High Schools. Even though he retired for the Natchez-Adams School District four years ago, Smith is still managing the clock.

The former coach is the clock operator at Natchez High’s home basketball games.

&uot;I enjoy helping out,&uot; Smith said. &uot;It helps the school and gives me something to do.&uot;

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Smith will be seated on the gym floor Friday between the team benches for the final round of the Division 6-5A Basketball Tournament.

Natchez High’s girls face Jackson Provine at 6 p.m., while the Natchez boys meet Jim Hill at 7:30 p.m. in the finals.

The Lady Bulldogs and Bulldogs both beat Forest Hill Tuesday to advance to the finals.

A win by either team would mean Smith would be back next week for at least one game as the championship team hosts a first round South State contest.

Smith coached basketball at North Natchez for five years, winning state championships in 194 and 1988. Smith finished with a record of 133-36.

&uot;I think the game is a lot faster now,&uot; he said. &uot;It’s a faster tempo. Plus the 3-point shot makes all the difference. Now you have to set up your defense at the 3-point line.&uot;

Smith began handling the clock duties five years ago when then clock operator Wilbert Whitley was named as an assistant basketball coach.

&uot;It helps me stay in touch with the game,&uot;&160;Smith said. &uot;But I never get involved. I just do the clock and that’s it. If you get mixed up in the game, then you can’t do the clock.&uot;

Smith said the fact he was a coach helps in operating a clock.

&uot;I’ve seen most of the things that go on and I don’t get excited,&uot; he said.