Beloved Basketball Coach, Rusty Smith, to Retire 18 Seasons Later



Walking away from a career that you love can be difficult, especially the foundation and relationships you build along the way. College of Sequoias Men’s Basketball Head Coach Rusty Smith will be retiring after 18 seasons with the program.

“Going into the 18-19 school year, I thought this would be my last” said Smith, “I didn’t want to make that known as I did not want to affect the team or have it be a distraction,” said Smith.

His family was very supportive of his decision to retire from coaching. He compares it to how a parent wants best for their kid. His family thought he would coach forever, but Smith would love to go enjoy life after basketball.

In 2001, Rusty Smith was named the head coach of the men’s basketball team. During his tenure here, The Giants overall record with him is 352-205 alongside with two Central Valley Conference Titles and four state final appearances. The Giants also had their best single season in the 2003-04 season going 28-3 for the best in the school’s history. Over the years, Rusty Smith has learned a lot not only from coaching, but from players too.

“The biggest things I learned as a coach is trust and your ability to connect with players from varied backgrounds is important as well,” said Smith.

Players on the team like Keshawn Gibbs and Tristan Forsyth expressed their love for Coach Smith, calling him a caring coach.

“He’s a good guy,” said Gibbs. “Was always one call away if we needed him.”

Forsyth added, “He taught me how having a tough and positive mindset can take you anywhere. He truly cares for every athlete that is coached under him.”  

After the school year, Smith will be moving to Carlsbad, California. He does not know what he’ll be doing yet, but enjoying a cold drink on the beach is a plan of his. Coach Smith has so much love for the school and the people who he came into contact with along the way. This decision was tough, but the time was right for Coach Smith to leave. His basketball program was great, recruiting players from all over the United States and even overseas too.

“I would like,” Smith said, “ to be remembered as a coach who ran a quality basketball program and a regular guy who treated people the right way.”