Health scare sidelines Simeon coach Robert Smith for two games

Simeon coach Robert Smith cheers his team on against Curie, Saturday 12-29-18. Worsom Robinson/For Sun-Times
Simeon coach Robert Smith cheers his team on against Curie, Saturday 12-29-18. Worsom Robinson/For Sun-Times

Simeon’s Robert Smith, the state’s most successful high school basketball coach, left the Wolverines’ game on Tuesday against Kenwood at halftime.

“It was just some chest pains,” Smith said. “I didn’t have shortness of breath or anything. They wanted to call the ambulance but my wife drove me to the hospital. They took all my vitals and I felt alright.”

Smith says he’s feeling fine now but has been instructed to take it easy for awhile. He won’t coach Simeon’s game on Thursday against Hyde Park or Saturday against Hillcrest.

The Wolverines are just 7-9 this season, the worst start of Smith’s career. He’s only lost more than nine games once in 15 seasons.

“It could have been stress just knowing we had to win that game,” Smith said. “That could have been a lot of it. But at halftime we were up 16. It got close after I left because the kids were concerned with me more than wanting to play. They lost focus.”

Derrick Rose leaves the game and is hugged by Simeon coach Robert Smith. Sun-Times photo.

Derrick Rose leaves the game and is hugged by Simeon coach Robert Smith. Sun-Times photo.

Smith, 47, is a Simeon graduate. He took over for legendary coach Bob Hambric in 2004 and has won six state titles and coached several of the city’s most iconic players, including Derrick Rose and Jabari Parker.

Smith has had a stressful few months. His brother and grandmother recently died and Simeon’s longtime principal was fired in June.

Simeon's Jabari Parker and head coach Robert Smith hug as Parker comes out of the game for the final time. Sun-Times photo.

Simeon’s Jabari Parker and head coach Robert Smith hug as Parker comes out of the game for the final time. Sun-Times photo.

“It’s been a lot,” Smith said. “And the team hasn’t been doing well.”

Smith is staying away from the team, but isn’t used to all the down time.

“Today I watched some old state championship games,” Smith said. “I watched the game we lost to Marshall in 2008, those were the good old days.”

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