LEBANON, Tenn. – Cumberland University’s Woody Hunt was presented with the Reese L. Smith, Jr., Award Tuesday by the Nashville Sports Council at the organization’s monthly luncheon at the Wildhorse Saloon in downtown Nashville.
Nashville Sports Council Board member Rick Regen and Tennessean columnist Joe Biddle presented the award to Coach Hunt, given by the Sports Council and the Nashville Area Athletic Club since 1992. The appearance was also part of the Annual Titans Kickoff Luncheon, with head coach Jeff Fisher introducing all of the rookies on this year’s squad.
The Reese L. Smith, Jr. Award is awarded annually to a Middle Tennessee individual who makes a difference in sports. Recipients are recognized for their achievement and community service through their participation as a player, coach, administrator, supporter, and overachiever. Recipients share a dedication, passion, and love for sports.
Hunt led the Bulldogs to the 2010 NAIA Baseball National Championship in Lewiston, Idaho, the second national title for Cumberland (2004). CU also has runner-up finishes in the NAIA World Series in 1995 and 2006. The Bulldogs have made 11 World Series appearances and Hunt has posted a 1284-523-3 in 29 seasons as head coach of the Bulldogs, including this year’s 58-9 mark.
History of the Award
Established in 1992 by the Nashville Area Athletic Club and adopted by the Nashville Sports Council, the award was created in memory of the late Reese L. Smith, Jr., the Chief Executive Officer of Haury & Smith Contractors established in 1954. Smith was a former President of the Nashville-Middle Tennessee Homebuilders Association, board member of the Nashville Chamber of Commerce, Nashville Union Rescue Mission, Salvation Army and McKendree Manor, among other community and college boards. Furthermore, he was an active member of Forest Hills Methodist Church.
Many Middle Tennessee developments bear the Haury & Smith trademark, including River Plantation, River Rest, Brentwood Trace, Brentwood Pointe and Steeplechase Inns, as well as developments in Murfreesboro, Cookeville, Columbia, and Mt. Pleasant.
“Big Reese,” as his friends referred to him, lettered in baseball, basketball and football at Hillsboro High School in Nashville and played football at Middle Tennessee. Smith was a member of the Nashville Fastpitch Softball Hall of Fame and the Blue Raider Hall of Fame. Three athletic complexes bear his name: the Middle Tennessee baseball complex, the David Lipscomb High School athletic complex and the Bellevue Little League and Babe Ruth Park. He was selected posthumously to the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame in 1994.
In addition to serving as an owner of the Nashville Sounds and 15 other minor league ball teams, Smith was on the National Board of the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders and Exhibitors Association. He retired the Show Pleasure Championship Trophy with three consecutive victories aboard Ebony’s Aristocrat. In 1990, he rode his champion mare, Miss Walking Miracle, to two World Championships.
He was married to the late Marcella Smith and survived by three sons – Reese III, Steve, and Mark. Smith’s motto throughout life was, “Let’s get on with it.” Regardless of the task at hand, Reese L. Smith, Jr., always wanted to get on with it.