For the second time in three months PPI-NI is welcoming a new International Fellow to the team. Joe Smith, who originally hails from College Park, MD, replaces Megan Lynch who returned back to the States in July. Joe brings a wealth of coaching experience as well as a passion for working with young people. In this week’s blog we get to know Joe!
Name: Joe Smith
From: College Park, Maryland
College: St. Mary’s College of Maryland
Co-Captain of back-to-back Capital Athletic Champions St. Mary’s Seahawks
Overall coaching record of 35-6 in 2 years coaching freshman and JV basketball teams at DeMatha Catholic High School
Favorite Basketball memory/experience?
My favorite experience as a player was winning our conference championship my freshman year and gaining a bid into the NCAA Tournament. We were one of the last teams to make it in and were able to knock off Guilford College in the competition.
As a coach, my favorite experience came during one of my practice sessions at DeMatha High School. Before practice began, I usually gave my team a quote to think about. At the end, I would ask one of the guys if they remembered that quote, with the possibility of there being less running should they get it correct. During a practice session, a group of my players turned the screws on me and had given me a quote at the beginning of practice. After practice ended they asked me to repeat it, or I would have to run an extra separator. Even though it was small, this interaction gave me great joy and reminded me of what I loved about coaching.
Favorite Basketball player:
Who is one of your role models and why?
I have been very fortunate to grow up in a loving household that taught me how to lead a good life and be myself.
I am the oldest of six children, with two sets of twins, and an eight year old. My mom and dad have dedicated their lives to the service of others through Catholic Education. My brother Sean (23) is in the process of attaining his Masters Degree in Social Work from the University of Maryland. His twin Maria (23) has completed her Masters Degree in Social Work from the University of Maryland and is currently working for Catholic Charities in Washington D.C. Maria was also an MLK scholar at St. Louis University. Nathan (20) currently attends Elon University and is majoring in Journalism. He has been featured on three websites and is in the process of co-founding another. Matthew (20) attends Holy Cross University and is currently studying abroad in El Salvador where he has continued the Jesuit tradition of “Men for Others.” Daniel (8) is in 3rd grade at St. Bernadette’s in Silver Spring, MD and has just started participating in club soccer.
I feel that the best way to introduce myself is to introduce my family. They are who I look to for inspiration and guidance. Clearly with this crew, I am just trying to keep up.
Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson
What interested you about this position?
Throughout my coaching career I have always felt that you can teach so much with just a game of basketball. PeacePlayers gives you the opportunity to ignite change with a sport that I am passionate about. In Northern Ireland, basketball is not nearly as popular as soccer and rugby. There is the potential to help grow the game of basketball here and that is something I want to be a part of.
What are you most looking forward to over your time in NI?
Getting to work with the young people here and helping to create peace in a society that was impacted significantly by conflict.
Favorite inspirational quote?
“A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.”