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Longtime Dal AC athletic director retires

Judy Smith spent almost 44 years at the former Nova Scotia Agriculture College, now Dal AC, holding various positions – the most prominent being athletics director. BRYCE DOIRON
Judy Smith spent almost 44 years at the former Nova Scotia Agriculture College, now Dal AC, holding various positions – the most prominent being athletics director. BRYCE DOIRON - Contributed

By Bryce Doiron

Special to the Truro News

BIBLE HILL, N.S. – Judy Smith is calling it a career, but that doesn’t mean she plans to slow down.

“It’s time to move on and try other things,” said Smith. “I’m just not sure what that will look like right now. I’m not ready for the rocking chair yet.”

The long-time athletic director at Dal AC (formerly NSAC) has retired after almost 44 years. Her last day was March 11.

Throughout her time, Smith has worn many hats, including dean of women, coordinator of health services, coordinator of women’s athletics and women’s basketball coach.

Having multiple titles has been a bit of a juggling act, but Smith has enjoyed every moment.

“There’s been lots of variety, so it doesn’t seem that long since I’ve been on campus,” she said, adding students, “have just been a joy to work with.”

In addition to her duties at Dal AC, Smith has held various positions with the Atlantic Collegiate Athletic Association and the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association over the years. Her tireless work ethic and commitment to athletics has led to many long days, however, she wouldn’t change a thing.

“The 8:30 to 4:30 didn’t exist and still doesn’t,” said Smith, added that if not in the gym, she would be home on the laptop working. “If I’m going to work at something, it’s going to be full out.”

That passion hasn’t gone unnoticed. Smith, who lives in Pictou County, was recently honoured by the CCAA, as the governing body renamed one of its most prestigious awards after her – the Judy Smith Exemplary Leadership Award. It is presented to a female basketball player, coach or team that demonstrates attitudes and behaviours in sport that are ethical and create standards for others to follow. It will be presented for the first time next weekend at the national championship.

Dal AC has hosted national tournaments 15 times during Smith’s tenure. She says her first one – the 1980 men’s and women’s basketball championships – is her most memorable, as the women’s team won a silver medal.

“So that was pretty exciting,” said Smith, who takes great pride in being a good host.

“It’s the same if you had friends coming over to your house. That is the way we look at this facility, this is our house. It just happens to be a 40,000 square foot house.”

Smith’s final national championship as host was last week when the Langille Athletic Centre was the site of the CCAA badminton championships.

And now that the last games have been played, and all is said and done, Smith is ready to move on to the next chapter of her life – whatever that may be.

“I’ll figure that out tomorrow.”

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