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Earl Smith could be on way out as Gary AD

Gary citywide athletic director Earl Smith listens as state senator Lonnie Randolph speaks Wednesday evening during town hall meeting by

Gary citywide athletic director Earl Smith listens as state senator Lonnie Randolph speaks Wednesday evening during a town hall meeting by the IHSAA on class basketball at Merrillville High School. | Jeffrey D. Nicholls~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: February 25, 2013 12:57PM



Longtime Gary city athletic director Earl Smith was one of 13 administrators recommended at a Tuesday school board meeting for non-renewal of his contract next year.

The Gary school system, struggling with dwindling enrollment and locked in a financial free fall, has had to find ways to cut costs. Smith, who has been the director of athletics since the 1998-99 school year, when he replaced Don Leak, has worked in a variety of administration and coaching positions in the Gary school system. Budgetary constraints were given as the reason for the elimination of his position.

Smith said that he had received a letter a couple weeks ago about the possible change but he seemed to be caught off-guard by the news. He has received a similar letter the last couple of years but the board always found a way to renew his position. It’s possible that he could be reassigned at a later time, though unlikely.

“They voted for contractual reasons not to continue with that position,” he said. “I don’t know what that entails. No one has said anything to me.”

Smith coached basketball at Emerson, Froebel, and Lew Wallace. A 1952 graduate of Roosevelt, he attended Iowa on a track scholarship. He ran track and played football for two seasons with the Hawkeyes, setting the Iowa scoring record with 11 touchdowns in 1954. He also finished as the Big Ten scoring champion that year.

One of Smith’s most notable accomplishments as athletic director is getting West Side secured as a boys basketball sectional site.



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