Former East Ascension coach Butch Smart dies

Former East Ascension High boys basketball coach Butch Smart died Tuesday morning in Ruston following a lengthy battle with cancer. He was 69.

“His teams always ran the motion offense very well, and that was during a time when not a lot of people were doing that,” St. Amant coach Gary Duhe said. “Butch could be a very fiery guy, and he was definitely an intense competitor. But he always kept things in the proper perspective. Once the game was over, it was over and he’d get ready for the next one.”

Visitation for Smart is set for 10 a.m. Friday at Ruston’s Trinity United Methodist Church. Services are 1 p.m. Friday at the same site.

A former Summerfield player, Smart served as a team manager for legendary coach Scotty Robertson at Louisiana Tech and started his 44-year coaching career in 1968 at Bastrop. He finished with more than 700 career wins at Louisiana and North Carolina high schools.

Smart averaged 20 wins a year during a 10-year stint at EAHS from the mid-1980s to mid-1990s.

He started his career at Dubach, where he won four district titles in five seasons and then spent 10 years at Ruston-based Cedar Creek, winning three independent school titles.

Smart moved to Quitman for three years before coming to East Ascension.

In 1996, Smart accepted North Carolina-based Highlands job and coached there until he retired at the end of the 2011-12 season. He led Highlands to three conference titles.