Although his Hoopfest record is underwhelming, Randy Smith has been more than successful as the Site and Facilities Manager of the largest 3-on-3 tournament in the world. Going 3-18 over the course of his Hoopfest career, it’s only natural to scapegoat the registration process.
“I always entered last minute and was placed into brackets to equal out teams,” says Randy. “There were too many times where my 5’11” self was matched up against George, a 6’8” behemoth of a man. What’s worse was that he was talented, too!”
Randy found himself a niche behind the scenes. Using yellow tape, steel backboard frames and a maroon, tricked out Toyota truck with Hoopfest displayed proudly, Randy has managed to transform the streets of downtown into the perfect playground for ballplayers.
Just like many others, Hoopfest has become a family affair for the Smith’s. “Hoopfest weekend means a lot to my family and I’m proud to be associated with such a great event.”
While Hoopfest is a time for recreation, competition and good food, the preparation and planning are logistically taxing. “The months leading up to Hoopfest are critical; there are lots of obligations and responsibilities,” says Randy. “I enjoy the challenge and the expectations that lead up to the actual event.” The anticipation is a static buzz felt throughout the city of Spokane.
Randy wasn’t with us from the beginning, however. “I was working at a previous job, when one of the first board members, Jerry Karstetter, came in asking for donations,” says Randy. “I provided the necessary equipment to transport things to and from downtown. Since then, I have volunteered and worked with Hoopfest.”
“I had always been around the organization,” says Randy. “I liked the excitement, energy and drive that I witnessed from the employees. When the former Site Manager resigned, I decided to try something different and apply. For some reason, they accepted!”
Since becoming a coveted member of the Hoopfest team, Randy has seen many things. Some cringe-worthy, like the time “the truck we rented got stuck under the overpass.” Others are miraculous.
“Four years ago, after Saturday morning set-up, I stood on the south side of the Washington Street bridge, where you could see a pretty good overlay of about 300 courts,” says Randy. “It was a proud moment for me.”
Hoopfest weekend isn’t the only event that Randy is familiar with. He’s witnessed firsthand the impact AAU Basketball has on the lives of young boys and girls.
“The first thing that comes to my mind is my grandson. AAU taught him and other young kids the game, the importance of respecting other players, parents and officials and the coaches helped to better develop his skills.”
The city of Spokane has become a basketball hub, if you will. Many great players have arisen from this region (John Stockton or Stacy Clinesmith ring a bell?) and many more are coming.
“AAU Basketball is an excellent beginning platform for kids to become better basketball players,” says Randy. “If young players want to play a more competitive style of basketball, then AAU can provide the mentorship and avenue to do just that.”
Spokane has proven itself to be the perfect host when it comes to serving the needs of the Spokane Hoopfest Organization. From the beautiful landscape of Riverfront Park to the quality of courts used in local high schools, Spokane has provided many opportunities.
“This city provides excellent facilities and officials for our various tournaments. I think it has also been so successful because a lot of importance has been placed on the accommodation of coaches’ requests. It’s this communication and city-wide commitment that fuels AAU Basketball.”
The impact of AAU Basketball and Hoopfest is clear in economic terms. But it’s more than dollar signs. If you ask Randy, “it’s brought people and families together.”
That’s the big picture that often gets overlooked when organizations reach high levels of success. Good thing we have had our handy-man Randy to remind us all of the method to our madness.
Currently, the staff is a mighty six member monster that grew from co-founders Rick Betts and Jerry Schmidt. Rob Davis was brought on in November to be the new Site and Facilities Manager, taking over fully for Randy as he retires January 15, 2015.
While he claims to be “retiring” now, Randy’s involvement with our organization remains strong and his legacy will continue to be admired and appreciated.
We salute and thank you, Randy!