Brian Smith, who was in his second season as Denham Springs High School’s defensive coordinator, died Monday after battling colon cancer.
The Denham Springs High Football Twitter feed (@denhamspringsFB) posted the following message late Monday night:
We lost a great man & coach today in Brian Smith after his tremendous battle. We know that he will forever look down on all his boys at everyone of his stops throughout his storied career. We love you coach.
Visitation for Smith will be held from 2 p.m to 4 p.m. Thursday at Seale Funeral Home in Denham Springs with a memorial service beginning at 4 p.m.
Smith worked Denham Springs’ scrimmage win over Walker and the Yellow Jackets’ season opening victory over East Iberville during the past few weeks.
He was diagnosed with colon cancer in November 2016 just months after losing his home in the Great Flood in August of the same year.
“I had colon cancer, Stage III,” Smith told The News in November of 2017. “November 3 – it’s been a year now – they cut me open from sternum to pelvis. Cut me open and took two feet of colon out and 52 lymph nodes, and they found 11 had cancer.”
Smith worked with Brett Beard at three schools -- Woodlawn, Live Oak and Denham Springs -- with Smith staying at Beard’s home after the flood and during the time he was diagnosed with cancer.
“Brett took me in after the flood, which was great before any of this started,” Smith said in the 2017 story. “Then when I went through the chemo, he was there every day. We’ve become very close, which is a good thing. He’s one of my best friends, not only as a coach, but we can talk about a lot of things together, just me and him. We’ve been through a lot together.
“He was really good to me and this football team has been really good for me. We all went through some struggles together and it was tough. I know they say I mean a lot to them and I love them for that, but they mean just as much to me.”
Smith also endured chemotherapy treatments with side effects that including losing 37 pounds and losing feeling in his fingers and feet.
“No complaints here,” Smith said in the 2017 story. “None.
“I don’t even know what plans tomorrow has for me, so I’m going to live today and that’s it. When I wake up tomorrow, I’m going to live tomorrow, and that’s it. I don’t really make plans. I live day-to-day and I always have, not just since this. That’s important to me.”
The following was posted to the Denham Springs FB Twitter account Tuesday afternoon:
In lieu of flowers, The Brian Smith Memorial Athletic Donation has been established for the student-athletes at Denham Springs High School.
Coach Smith loved the student-athletes at DSHS would rather see them taken care of.