Track coach Earle Smith saved a 10-year-old girl who went into cardiac arrest during practice in Dallas in February. He jumped into action on the track at W.T. White High School and performed CPR.
But Nyla Banks isn't the only North Texas athlete for whom Smith has made an impact.
The founder and head coach of Iconic Track Club in Dallas, Smith molds children from 5 to 18 years old with discipline, love and fatherly advice.
“The kids are an unwritten piece of paper. What you invest in them, is something they take from,” he said.
Sunday, he was back at W.T. White coaching his athletes during practice. And before he started the track club, Smith was an instructor at a barber college, where he mentored young men, some from tough backgrounds.
“Sometimes you can remold them and reshape them. Some of them you can’t get to," he said. "But it basically came from that level to now I’m doing it with kids as well."
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The kids he’s mentored have invited him to daddy-daughter events and graduations.
“I have two seniors this year that just graduated. For them to always revert back to, 'Coach Earle!' And for them to give me the thank you notes, I know I did a very good job investing in them,” Smith said.
He said watching them grow into successful young adults is his reward.
“I’m not saying invest monetarily. When you invest time in somebody, it gives them the opportunity to hold on to that. Money, you can spend it, and it’s gone,” Smith said.