Staff Photo: Jonathan Phillips
Scotty Smith holds game, season and career goal records for the GAC lacrosse program as well as maintaining a better than 4.0 grade point average.
At the first day of lacrosse practice this year, Greater Atlanta Christian coach Tim Ball asked his players to make sure the locker room was clean.
When he walked in there a few minutes later, he never expected to see his star player Scotty Smith vacuuming the floor.
“That’s just the kind of guy he is,” Ball said. “If you’re a freshman, he’s not going to make you do this.”
THE SMITH FILE
Who: Scotty Smith
Favorite TV show: “The Mentalist”
Favorite sports team: Atlanta Braves
Dream job: Genetics research
Why has lacrosse become so popular? “It’s a different type of team. The camaraderie in lacrosse is different from other sports. It’s a serious and a laid back of sport.”
• GAC record holder for goals in a game (8), season (57) and career (156)
• Led club team, the Copperheads, to national title in ’09
• Maintains 4.15 GPA
• Enjoys playing the piano, drawing and painting
Smith’s lead-by-example approach has been pivotal as GAC builds its lacrosse program. Smith has been the Spartans’ leading scorer the last two years and has the team in position for its first playoff appearance.
“We should hopefully be able to get there,” Smith said. “We have to keep competing. We have a pretty tough region, though.”
GAC’s playoff hopes took a hit last month after Smith missed the second half — he got five stitches in his chin — in the Spartans’ 12-9 loss to Johns Creek.
The defeat put GAC in a battle for the final playoff spot in the area. The Spartans are 7-5 overall and 3-3 in the area. If they can win out and get some help then they’ll make the playoffs for the first time.
“I think we all have a similar mind set with the season, which is to have a really good one,” Smith said. “Everyone that is out here, wants to be out here. They don’t want to be doing anything else, but playing lacrosse.”
Smith’s latest chin injury isn’t his first from lacrosse.
“Oh, definitely not,” Smith said.
The senior has broken both thumbs, broken a knuckle in his left hand and had a floating bone. He’s had issues with his foot and a minor concussion. All the typical injuries you face as a 6-foot-5, 185-pound attacker/midfielder.
A broken thumb kept him out of several games his freshman season, which likely kept him from being his team’s top scorer that season. He holds every GAC scoring record, including goals in a game (eight), season (57) and career (156).
“You’ve got to score goals to win games,” Smith said with a smile. “Everyone loves scoring goals.”
Smith has 31 goals in nine games this season, well off his average. But that’s a good thing. Other players have emerged as scoring threats, taking the pressure off Smith.
“He hasn’t scored as much as he probably wants to, but everyone is starting to come around and he’s getting them more involved with the offense,” Ball said.
Smith grew up playing soccer, but after his father Phil put a lacrosse stick in his hand he’s been devoted to the sport.
He showed promise as a seventh-grader when GAC started its lacrosse program and he helped his club team, the Copperheads, to a national title in 2009.
Smith’s interests go beyond sports, though. He grew up playing piano, which he routinely plays at recitals or coffee shops. He also has a passion for drawing and painting.
“I’ve been coaching football for 22 years and lacrosse for five and he’s one of the most well-rounded student-athletes I’ve ever been around,” Ball said.
Smith plans to go to the University of Georgia this fall. He may play lacrosse or pursue his other interests. But somehow he still wants to be involved with lacrosse.
“It’s definitely something I don’t want to give up when I get to college,” Smith said. “I want to give back to the sport in some way. It’s given me so much, even with the broken thumbs and stitches.”