O’Neisha Smith played basketball for four years and was a high jumper for two years for Lipscomb University. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Lipscomb and returned home to receive a master’s degree from Georgia State. She is a social worker full-time, but also serves as a part-time high jump coach. She spent some time this week talking with Lipscombsports.com.
What years did you play at Lipscomb? Who were your coaches?
“I played basketball from 2010 through 2014. I also was a high jumper at Lipscomb my freshman and sophomore years.
“Frank Bennett was my coach my freshman and sophomore years and Greg Brown was my coach my junior and senior years in basketball.
“I worked with Luke Syverson as my high jump coach.”
Why did you choose to attend Lipscomb?
“It was the atmosphere and the campus. I am from Atlanta, Georgia. When I got on campus I just felt comfortable.
“It was also about my faith. That was also one of my big decisions. My family is big on faith and I wanted to go somewhere where I could continue to stay on track with my faith. It was perfect going to Lipscomb because I was able to express my faith without having to hide it. I was able to be open about it.
“The coaching staff, with Coach Bennett, welcomed me and my family. They took care of me and showed they cared about me as a human being and not just as a basketball player.”
What is your fondest athletic memory at Lipscomb?
“The one that stands out the most was in the track season my freshman year I won the ASUN Conference in the high jump. That was one of my best moments as an athlete there and I was doing my secondary sport.
“In basketball one of my best moments was playing against Belmont and the whole atmosphere around those games. I had one of my best games against them.”
Who had the biggest influence on you during your athletic career at Lipscomb? How?
“Coach Bennett. He saw something in me to bring me to Lipscomb. I wouldn’t have been at Lipscomb if it wasn’t for him.
“He always made sure he came to me as a father figure. He treated me like I was one of his daughters in helping me through the transition to college and adjusting to being away from home.
“He told me the sky was the limit. He told me I could go as far as I pushed myself.
“He was a teacher of the game so I learned a lot about the basketball through more than just physically doing it.”
What is your fondest non-athletic memory from your time at Lipscomb?
“My social work program of study. We stuck together from my freshman year through my senior year. I have a lot of memories in the classroom and with my major.
“I did a lot of outside work. I was an intern for almost an entire year at the Metro Schools Attendance Center. I was a probation officer intern there. That was exactly what I wanted to do and I was honored to work there.
“I had my own case load. I went to juvenile court to speak on behalf of some of the students I was working with. I did school visits. That was one of my best moments of being at Lipscomb to be able for me to have those experiences.”
What is the most valuable thing you gained or learned from your time at Lipscomb?
“Doing the right things in life. What I mean by that is making sure I am in a position where I can do the right thing. I don’t want to put myself in situations that could lead me down the wrong path.
“Lipscomb helped me stay on track. Going off to college I could have gotten into different things, but Lipscomb kept me on the straight and narrow.
“I learned from Coach Brown to do the right things right and that will guide you. I appreciated going to Lipscomb because I was able to stay on track, stay focused and have a purpose.”
Who was your favorite professor? Why?
“My favorite would have to be Cayce Watson, one of my social work teachers.
“She made the experience a smooth transition. She had an open door policy. She was always there. Any time I needed an ear to bend she was there for me.
“She was the one who helped me get my internship. I had her all four years.
“Another favorite would be Hazel Arthur. She is over the social work program as the chair. She just has so much knowledge. She was very enlightening about the social work program … her knowledge on how to advocate and how to go about it. I sat down and talked with her one day and that is why I was in the social work program. She drew me into the major talking about what social work really means by advocating for the people who are the most vulnerable to help empower them and meet the needs of those people. She was just awesome.”
Where do you live now?
“I live in Douglasville, Georgia.”
Who is your employer? What is your occupation? What does your position entail?
“I am a social worker at A Supreme Nursing and Homecare in Atlanta. It is a home health agency.
“I do the evaluations and assessments on patients who are discharged from the hospital. I work with individuals from birth to the elderly.
“I go to their homes and make sure their needs are being met with our agency and that their needs were met when they were in the hospital. I do full assessment including a bio. I check on their psychological state and their emotional and mental states.
“I am also coaching high jumping at my old high school, Chapel Hill High School, in Douglasville.”
Tell us about your family.
“I am single.”
My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.