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OSU Wrestling Coach John Smith Opens Up About His Father’s Death

OSU’s head wrestling coach lost his father on Sunday.



TULSA — John Smith wasn’t on the sideline for all seven of Oklahoma State’s Big 12 Championship matches on Sunday.

He spent much of the evening out of the limelight because his father, Lee Roy Smith Sr., died about 9 p.m. Sunday night. He was 85.

“It’s been a tough weekend, but the last thing he asked, when he could speak, was he was concerned about the Big 12 Tournament,” John Smith said. “He got to come here the last couple of years and really enjoyed it. Somebody sent me a picture where he was up in the stands and he started the O-S-U with his cowboy hat on.

“What a great run. A great father, a father of 10. He has about 50 grandchildren, 15 great grandchildren. Lucky to have a father that cared.”

Joe Smith is one of those numerous grandchildren. Joe placed fifth this weekend after an eventful couple of weeks that saw him enter the Big 12 Championships at 165 pounds, a weight Smith hasn’t wrestled at in his OSU career before this weekend.

“(Joe) was close with my dad, fishing buddies,” John Smith said. “I think we all have a grandfather that we really cared about, hopefully we did. I’ve been blessed, my family’s been blessed. I didn’t have any intentions of talking about my father, but I’m a proud son.”

Lee Roy’s son and grandson helped OSU to its seventh straight Big 12 title and the program’s 53rd conference crown overall. The Cowboys’ 158 points were 43.5 more than second-place Iowa State.

“It’d be a pretty lonely night if I didn’t have this (Big 12 Championship T-Shirt),” John Smith said. “It makes the night a little bit easier to deal with.”