When you’re the “all-time winningest” at anything, you have clearly accomplished a lot. A lot of times, you’ve also had to get past all sorts of obstacles. Guyla Smith, the only softball coach West High School in West, Texas has ever had, and the winningest coach in the history of Texas high school softball, knows about getting through the difficult times. Her school and town were rocked by an explosion a little more than three years ago, but she found a way to keep her kids playing softball and this past season, she achieved something remarkable.

In this interview, we find out a bit about what her team did and why they were able to do it.


If you’d prefer to read the interview instead of watching it, here’s a transcript:

Rush: I’m Rush Olson. I’m with Guyla Smith today. Now, Guyla is the head softball coach at West High School in West Texas, or West Comma Texas, as they like to say. What’s really amazing about Guyla is she is the all-time winningest softball coach in Texas high school history. The cool thing that happened this year, though, is West won the state championship. Why was this championship so special?

Guyla: Well, again, we’d been there, the state tournament, the sixth time it took me to to win it in 25 years of hard work and had a great group of kids to get it done.

Rush: What did it mean to you winning your first state championship after having been with the program as long as you have?

Guyla: It just was awesome. Those kids all the whole time were wanting to win it. said that, you know, from the first practice they wanted to win state. That was their goal, you know. I’ve tried to tone it down where “Let’s get district, let’s go one game at a time after that,” and then, hey, winning it was awesome. But they had that little list – win state every time they broke it out it was really, really neat at practice every time.

Rush: Now all of Guyla’s wins have come at West High School, because she started the program here. What is it about the West kids that enabled them to come through the tragedy that happened 2013 with the fertilizer explosion and get to the point where they’re having so much success in athletics?

Guyla: They’re just resilient. They, you know, we’ve had success before that and we just keep it going. Just keep that routine going. After the explosion, we wanted to keep the routine, and we did the best we could, and then we continue that and continue to do small things that make big things happen. That’s how it happened

this year.

Rush: So what then is your level of enthusiasm coming into this year? How are you going to follow this up?

Guyla: Well, we’re excited. You know, those kids have already talked about, “Hey, we’re going to again. We’re going to be like the boys.” You know, there’s a little competition now. The boys did it, so the girls going to do it. So we’re going to try. We’re going to have our little ring ceremony here September first and then we’re going to have a parade, a Westfest parade. We won the thing and then we’re going to that’s, you know, old news. We’re going to start new news and begin for the next year and start our weight lifting and running and getting after it.

Rush: And Guyla was referring to the baseball team who won back-to-back state titles as well. Her team will go and try to duplicate that feat this year. Guyla, thank you for joining us.

Guyla: Thank you.

Rush: With Guyla Smith, I’m Rush Olson for the Fort Worth Weekly

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Rush Olson has spent two decades directing creative efforts for sports teams and broadcasters. When not writing his Sports Rush blog for the Weekly, he creates television programs, ad campaigns, content marketing, and related creative projects for sports entities and more through Rush Olson Creative & Sports, Mint Farm Films, and FourNine Productions.