Southeastern News

Wesley Smithart Scholarship established at Southeastern

Wesley Smithart

Wesley Smithart

DURANT, Okla. – Southeastern Oklahoma State University has announced the establishment of the Wesley Smithart Scholarship through the Southeastern Foundation.

The purpose of the scholarship is to honor the late Mr. Smithart by assisting deserving students who are seeking a degree at Southeastern. Recipients must be Oklahoma residents graduating from a high school in Bryan or Atoka counties.

Smithart spent 32 years teaching, coaching, serving as a high school administrator, and with the State Department of Education as auditor and Regional Accreditation Officer.

He was an All-State basketball player at Tushka (Oklahoma) High School, and he led the Tigers to a state championship in 1948. He was recruited by Hall of Fame coach Bloomer Sullivan to play basketball at Southeastern.

After a tour of duty in Korea with the U.S. Army’s 45th Division, Smithart returned to coach basketball at Atoka High School for 12 years. He guided six of his teams to the state tournament.

He started a 50-year officiating career in 1949, which was really a 51-year career since the Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association started keeping records after Smithart’s first year of officiating.

He officiated 12 state basketball tournaments and 34 football playoff games. In the first game of his final year of officiating at Achille (Oklahoma) High School, Achille principal Rip Tidwell presented a plaque from the Bryan County Coaches Association in appreciation of his many years on the court.

Smithart was inducted into the Bryan County Athletics Hall of  Fame and the Oklahoma Officials Association Hall of  Fame.  In 1993, he was presented an achievement award by the National Federation of Interscholastic Officials Association in St. Louis.

After retirement from everything except officiating, he agreed to coach Southeastern’s softball team for a year. During the program’s second year of existence, he guided Southeastern to within one win of the national championship tournament.

Smithart was born on December 7, 1929 and passed away on December 5, 2014. His wife, Marcia, has established the scholarship in his memory.

Donations may be made to the Southeastern Foundation, c/o Wesley Smithart Scholarship, 1405 N. 4th Avenue, PMB 4187, Durant, Oklahoma, 74701-0609.  For more information, contact Mark Webb at 580-745-2361.