On April 23, the Mississippi Community College Foundation hosted the thirteenth annual Mississippi Community and Junior College Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony. One former athlete or coach from each community college was inducted into the class. Included in the class was Holmes alumnus Sonny Smith.
Smith was unable to attend the event so Athletic Director Andy Wood accepted the honor from Holmes President Dr. Jim Haffey on his behalf.
The Mississippi Community and Junior College Sports Hall of Fame was conceived in the interest of recognizing coaches and athletes who have coached and/or played in one or more of Mississippi public community or junior colleges. Since 2007, including the 2019 class, 240 individuals have been recognized for their successes both on and off the field.
Inductees included: Coahoma Community College, Delinda Samuel-basketball player; Copiah-Lincoln Community College, Randy Thomas- football player; East Central Community College; Sam Rutigliano- basketball and football player; East Mississippi Community College, Richard Mathis- basketball player and coach; Hinds Community College, Tom Weathersby- basketball player; Holmes Community College,
Charles Hughes "Sonny" Smith- basketball player; Itawamba Community College, James "Booty" Sloan- baseball and football player and coach; Jones College, Hill Denson- basketball player; Meridian Community College, Steve Clements- soccer coach; Mississippi Delta Community College, Robert Eugene "Bobby" Gibney- basketball and track player; Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, Charles Guy "Dinkey" Evans- football player; Northeast Mississippi Community College, Maurice Stafford- basketball player and coach; Northwest Mississippi Community College, Larenda Shantell Atkins- basketball player; Pearl River Community College, Tim Hatten- football player and coach; and Southwest Mississippi Community College, Hilton Harrell- basketball player.
Smith came to Holmes in 1954 from Cloudland High School in Roan Mountain, Tennessee. He mentioned he had been sick with some health issues as a kid but had started to improve and then came along his opportunity to play basketball at Holmes.
"I remember the warmest love and acceptance from the people of Goodman and Holmes Junior," Smith said.
Gordon Carr was Smith's basketball coach and he played guard. He was a part of the 1956 championship team and was named was All-State. After Holmes, Smith went to Milligan College and earned a bachelor of science. He continued to excel on the court, making the All Smoky Mountain Conference two years in a row.
Basketball was something Smith enjoyed. He followed his passion into the coaching side of the sport for nine years at the high school level and 20 plus year at college level starting as an assistant at William & Marry, Pepperdine and Virginia Tech. Smith's first head coaching job was at East Tennessee State (1976-78), then on to Auburn University (1978-1989) and Virginia Commonwealth University (1989-1998).
Among Smith's coaching accomplishments are an SEC Championship in 1985, CAA regular season in 1996 and CCA Tournament in 1996. He is best known for his career at Auburn in the 80's.
Smith has several honors that have come with his successful career in basketball as both a player and a coach. He has been inducted into several Hall of Fames including the Holmes Sports Hall of Fame in 2006, and he was SEC Coach of the Year two times.
Smith and his wife, Janice, live in Auburn and have two children: Sheri and Steve. They have four grandchildren and two great grandchildren. Smith can be found as the color commentator for the Auburn men's basketball games on the Auburn Sports Network radio broadcast.