Longtime history teacher and basketball coach of Turlock High, Ronald Charles Smart, passed away at Memorial Medical Center in Modesto on July 21.
To honor his memory and pay tribute to Smart, a memorial basketball game will be held at 6 p.m. Friday at Calvary Baptist Church in Turlock. This falls on the date that would have been Smart’s 77th birthday. Former Turlock High basketball players are encouraged to participate in the game, and friends of Smart are asked to attend and cheer on his former players.
“Some ex-Turlock High players, and people that played for Coach Smart stated that they will be at the game,” Turlock High Basketball Coach Doug Cornfoot said. “People who have been in the Turlock area, have been associated with basketball and had gotten to know Smart over the years will be there to support and play the game.”
Smart lived a healthy life of 76 years, and had many accomplishments over his life.
October 17, 1957, marked the date Smart joined the United States Navy, later transferring to the Marines.
“He never talked much about his time in the service,” Cornfoot said. “But he did share how much he enjoyed going to reunions with the troops that served alongside him.”
He served during the Vietnam War and finished his service in 1961.
Smart later devoted his time primarily to Turlock High School as a history teacher and their boys’ varsity basketball coach.
“He was fascinated with history movies,” Cornfoot said. “He would often talk about them on bus rides to games.”
The team won the League Championship during his tenure at Turlock High School, and he often spoke highly of that achievement. Smart’s true passion was to coach the game of basketball.
“He would show up at Stanislaus games, Turlock High games, Delhi games, open gyms, practices, you name it,” Cornfoot said. “He was just a basketball nut.”
Contact Coach Doug Cornfoot at 634-1978 for details on how to sign up for the game.