DeSales High soccer coach honored with organ donation walk

Lee Smith was always giving back. His last act of giving was to donate his organs.
Published: Jan. 25, 2023 at 10:08 AM EST|Updated: Jan. 25, 2023 at 4:16 PM EST
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - It was a sad day for the DeSales High School community after head soccer coach Lee Smith died Tuesday after reportedly suffered a heart attack over the weekend.

When he was promoted to the head coaching job ahead of the 2021 season, Smith said he intended to “push his student athletes to raise their expectations.” His peers said he did that on and off the field.

“He’s always just been there for me personally as well as our community,” said Don Bowers, the DeSales athletic director. “He’s one of those guys that on Friday night football he was always here. On baseball games, he was always here, soccer, lacrosse, basketball he was always here.”

Smith was always giving back. His last act of giving was to donate his organs.

To witness his organ donor walk Tuesday, students and friends lined the hallways of the ICU and the operating room at Mary & Elizabeth Hospital. It was a silent tribute showing their love and respect.

A former Marine and a man of faith, Smith taught lessons of teamwork and commitment. He gave back to his community, coaching more than 15 years before leading the DeSales team.

“He just took an interest in these guys that he coached,” Drew Barbeau, Smith’s brother-in-law said. “A lot of them didn’t have a father figure. And he became that father figure.”

Funeral services are scheduled for Saturday. Smith’s family requests that contributions be made in his memory to the Mockingbird Valley Soccer Club.