Boys’ basketball: Chantilly Coach Jim Smith reaches 400 career victories

Mark Gail/WASHINGTON POST - Chantilly Coach Jim Smith got his 400th career victory last week.

Chantilly Coach Jim Smith gave himself a nice present on Feb. 2 when the Chargers downed Virginia AAA Concorde District rival Herndon, 69-63, on his 51st birthday.

The victory was Smith’s 400th career win, making him just the sixth boys’ coach in Northern Region history to reach that mark. He did so in front of a home crowd with the student section chanting “400” in the final seconds, and Smith said his kids stood and applauded after the game to recognize the moment.

“I think it will be one of those things, when I can sit back and think about it, it will be meaningful to me,” said Smith, whose family tragedy was chronicled by The Post’s Preston Williams in 2010. “But really it speaks to so many great players and great coaches, and for me some perseverance. But I’ve been fortunate to be surrounded by great people and it’s made it easy for me.”

Smith won 15 games in his first year as head coach at Sidwell Friends in 1987-88, and then compiled 36 more wins in three seasons at McLean. Since coming to Chantilly in 1991, Smith has averaged 17 wins per season. Under Smith the Chargers have finished with fewer than 10 wins just twice, and 12 times Smith has guided Chantilly to 18 wins or more.

The Chargers are currently 10-9 with one game remaining in the regular season.

Smith, whose career record stands at 401-218, joins Red Jenkins, Dick Wickline, Charlie Thompson, Don McCool and Wendell Byrd as Northern Region coaches with 400 career wins or more.

“It’s just one of those things I try to stay in the moment,” Smith said. “And keep pushing and we want to have a great year this year. At some point I’ll sit back and reflect on it.”

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