In recognition of all that he gave to our team, the players, parents and community of the Florida High Football Team wish to support the Ryan Smith Memorial Scholarship in memory of Coach Ryan Smith, who passed away unexpected in 2020 at the age of 32. Coach Smith was the Florida High Offensive Line Coach and an integral part of the team’s first appearance at the 2019 Class 3A Football State Championships. Coach Smith had an incredible love for the game of football and the players and young men he mentored.
Ryan Smith Biography
Ryan C. Smith was born and raised in Miami, Florida. Growing up, he enjoyed various activities and sports, but his greatest love was football. From a young age, Ryan was captivated by “The U” and spent quality time over the years with his uncles, brothers and cousins enjoying games at the original Orange Bowl stadium. In high school, he was an active member of the track team and other extracurriculars, graduating from Miami Northwestern in 2006.
Ryan’s pursuit of higher education brought him to the “Highest of Seven Hills” -- Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University (FAMU) in Tallahassee, Florida. Majoring in African-American studies with a minor in journalism, he received his Bachelor of Science in 2011. A year later, he completed a Master of Science in history from FAMU. Upon graduation, Ryan put his studies to work, enthusiastically accepting the role of archivist at The Black Archives History and Research Foundation of South Florida. During this time, he was exposed to youth mentorship -- something that would remain close to his heart.
Ahead of his 26th birthday, Ryan’s mother encouraged him to get a checkup, as she noticed a change in his appearance. He was diagnosed with CLL, a chronic form of leukemia. With the support of his family and friends, Ryan completed his treatment and continued his career anew. He transitioned his career into the classroom, spending several years as an elementary/middle school teacher and sports coach in south Florida. Also during this time, he met (2013) and later proposed to his future wife, Darlysa. With wedding planning in full swing and an enjoyable career blossoming, Ryan was on top of the world. Unfortunately, another obstacle would be thrown his way, as doctors feared the leukemia might have returned.
Despite all this, Ryan and Darlysa married in July 2016. After many tests and treatment attempts, the doctors gave Ryan a second diagnosis -- Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Thankfully, Ryan’s recovery was successful and he began his last teaching role in south Florida.
Ryan’s appreciation for teaching and mentoring collided with his love of football, and he decided to pursue a second master’s degree in sports management, bringing him back to Tallahassee. During his second graduate experience, Ryan volunteered with the Godby High football program; worked as a graduate assistant for FAMU Athletics and the football equipment team. Joy came to the Smiths with the news that they were expecting their first child. Ryan graduated with his second Master’s degree in winter 2018. In March 2019, their family welcomed an energetic baby boy who they named Taylor, after Ryan’s all time favorite football player, Sean Taylor. Ryan embraced fatherhood and made it his mission to reach his goal of becoming a full-time football coach.
Over the summer of 2019, Ryan grew closer to his career goal, joining the Florida State University School football family as an offensive line coach. Ryan became more eager as the season went on, and was excited to serve as an integral part of the team’s first ever appearance at the Class 3A Football State Championship.
Toward the final weeks of his life, Ryan was able to enjoy many ‘firsts’ with his son, Taylor, and wife Darlysa. His philosophy on life was "control what you can control, and allow God to take care of the rest," and he lived this way until God called him home on June 28, 2020 at the age of 32.