Randy Smith: Remembering Big Nasty

  • Tuesday, February 20, 2024
  • Randy Smith
Randy Smith
Randy Smith
It's been 28 years since my good friend and mentor Bill Nash passed away but there are very few days that go by that I don't think about him...and when I do I usually laugh.

I first met him in 1975 when I was a graduate student at Middle Tennessee State University and was looking for a job. I was a young sportscaster with a goal of doing college sports on radio. My first ever mentor, Monte Hale in Murfreesboro got me an interview with Nash and while he was very cordial and friendly he had no job at the time to offer me.
So, I took a job at WDXB and worked there for a year until Nash finally had an opening. I worked for him at WDOD for two years until I was offered a job at WDEF Radio and TV.

My two years working for Bill Nash basically changed my life. He was an outstanding play by play announcer who taught me quite a bit about that trade. I learned to treat people you work alongside with kindness and respect. I learned a lot about advertising and sales and I learned a lot about being professional both on the air and off. Most importantly however, I learned how to be a good friend. I considered Bill Nash not only a great boss but he was one of my very best friends for years.

He taught me terms I had never heard before like..."Trog Mossy" which I refuse to define the meaning of and, the "Blue Bird Boogey." He described his folks at WDOD as "Has beens who never was...who've never been as happy."

In 1978 when my wife Shelia and I lost everything we owned in a house fire, he was right there for us. The day our house burned, he came to Whitwell where we lived to offer help and support and the next weekend, he invited us to spend the weekend with his wife Sally and him at their lake home in Spring City. And a few weeks later, he organized a party at his home with a lot of people invited to bring us things we needed to replace items we lost in the fire. I will never forget his kindness that night but his kindness never wavered. We traveled together a lot going to Cape Girardeau, Mo., to see our mutual friend, former UTC basketball coach Ron Shumate who was head coach at Southeast Missouri at the time. We went fishing together and went to ball games together. We worked again together at WDEF Radio a few years after I left channel 12. No matter what I did he was always a big part of my life.

We stayed in close contact until he died in 1997 at the much too young age of 62 years old. As always he was thinking of others, even in death as he donated his body to science. I was honored to speak at his celebration of life a few days following his death and there were tears shed...both in sadness and in laughter.

I will always love you and remember you "Big Nasty." Thanks again for all you did.

* * *
Randy Smith can be reached at rsmithsports@epbfi.com.
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