Smith, Carol


Carol Roe Smith was a true pioneer for women’s basketball, developing her love of the sport in Dayton,Ohio when she would shoot outside of her house, in the snow, with the floodlights on.

Smith began at Miamisburg High School when the women’s game consisted of two offensive players at one end of the court, two defensive players at the other, two rovers that went both ways and a two-dribble maximum before you had to pass. She once scored 44 points in a game.

Smith was ecstatic upon being able to play full court when she enrolled at Otterbein, and was a key piece of the undefeated 1965-66 team that beat Ohio State. Having to comply with a dress code for class, she remembers wearing basketball shorts under her skirt so that she could make the quick transition from art sessions to 3 p.m. practice.

When she and her teammates were tired of wearing hockey tunics to play, Smith spearheaded the charge to get actual uniforms…and ultimately accomplished that effort by her junior season when they went to t-shirts with a number on it. A true athlete,she also played four years of softball and two years of field hockey at Otterbein.

Smith graduated in1969 and obtained a teaching job at Walnut Ridge High School, where she pushed to start a girls basketball program. She was initially only permitted to schedule four games and hold practices at a nearby elementary school but, less than a decade later, guided Walnut Ridge to the 1977 State Final Four in what was the second ever girls tournament. If that weren’t enough, she also coached four years of boys tennis because nobody else wanted to do it, making her one of the first female coaches for male sports in Ohio. Smith maintained a playing career simultaneously, competing in AAU ball for 12 years and receiving an invitation to tryout for the 1976 USA Women’s Basketball Olympic team,the first year it was introduced at the games. In 1971,when the Walnut Ridge boys team won the state tournament, she personally practiced against them to provide competition.

Her stretch at Walnut Ridge eventually came to a close when she stepped down to start a family, but Smith still found ways to make an impact and further the sport. She founded the Ohio Girls North/South All-Star game, which she ran for nine years and brought to Otterbein through a partnership with Dr.Marilyn Day. Smith also coached the first-ever Ohio/Michigan All-Star game.

A 2016 inductee into the Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame, Smith has two children, two grandchildren and now resides in Dublin with her wife, Carol.