KINGSTON, Jamaica – Cricket West Indies, along with several members of the West Indies women’s fraternity, have expressed sadness at the passing of Cleon Smith, the highly-respected and hard-working coach of the Jamaica Women’s side.
The 60-year-old died in hospital in the capital here Thursday following a long illness.
CWI director of cricket, Jimmy Adams, said Smith had made cricket development his life-long passion.
“It is with a deep sense of loss that all of us at CWI heard of the passing of Cleon Smith,” the former West Indies Test captain said.
“He has been an integral part of the Jamaica cricketing landscape serving as head coach of the country’s women’s national programme for over ten years.
“Cleon dedicated his life to coaching the game at community, school and regional levels and the game will be left that much poorer by his passing.
“All of us at CWI wish to convey our deepest condolences to Cleon’s family as we share their grief during this period of mourning.”
Among those paying tribute were West Indies player Deandra Dottin, one of the leading all-rounders in the women’s game, along with former T&T and West Indies captain, Merissa Aguilleira.
Both took to social media to post photos of Smith and offer condolences to his family and members of the Jamaica cricket fraternity.
Smith was one of the chief architects in the development of women’s cricket in the last decade and was coach when the country won several regional titles.
He had a hand in the development of several outstanding players including Stafanie Taylor, the world-rated Jamaica and West Indies all-rounder and captain.
Along with his work in women’s cricket, Smith was also coach of the St Ann’s Cricket Association in the island premier competitions.
He also played a key role in the Kiddy Cricket programme for age group players, administered by the Jamaica Cricket Association and the Cricket West Indies.