Community pays tribute to beloved coach killed in Detroit shooting

Police trying to identify man connected to shooting death of Cass Tech coach Dennis Smith II

Community pays tribute to beloved coach killed in Detroit shooting

DETROIT – Family and friends gathered Wednesday to honor Cass Technical High School coach Dennis Smith II.

Police are still trying to identify the man who left a restaurant May 5 on Livernois Avenue near Six Mile Road, firing several shots and killing the 46-year-old.

A vigil was held at the Mumford High School for the coach widely known as “Coach Smitty” and to have everyone’s back.

READ: Beloved Cass Technical High School coach killed in Detroit

“That was his nature, to protect everybody and take care of everybody,” said his mother, Alenna Spearman.

“He had a lot to do with the success of a lot of youth, so he’s blessed,” said his father, Dennis Smith Sr.

Smith coached the D-line and was the strength coach for Cass Tech.

Outside of the nickname, “Coach Smitty,” many in his family had another nickname for him.

“He was born 12 pounds, almost 13 pounds. That’s a very large baby, so he was ‘Buster’ to us,” said his aunt Grace Moore.

As many lives he touched as a teacher, coach and mentor, none meant more to him than his five children and his granddaughter.

“My son was a good son. He loved his family, he did everything he could for us. He made sure we stayed safe and he was always there for everyone,” Spearman said.

About the Author:

Jason is Local 4’s utility infielder. In addition to anchoring the morning newscast, he often reports on a variety of stories from the tragic, like the shootings at Michigan State, to the off-beat, like great gas station food.