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UPDATE: Wave sweeps away former Baylor student and Georgia resident off Oregon coast

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Photo: Atlanta Journal-Constitution Photo: Atlanta Journal-Constitution

UPDATE: Curtis Blair coached Kelly Smith as part of Baylor’s state championship soccer team in 2006. 

“It didn't matter what kind of day you had or what kind of day he had. He was going to show up every day and he had a big smile on his face, and he was always excited to be there and see his teammates,” said Blair.

However, Blair says once the whistle blew, Smith was a different person on the field.

“I’m telling you, he would compete. That’s been the biggest one factor I’ve seen out of him,” said Blair.

Friday, Smith was visiting the Oregon coast when a wave swept him away. 

Smith and his friend climbed on rocks to take a picture when a wave hit from behind.

Smith was pulled by the water currents; his friend saw him for about seven minutes, but could do nothing to help. 

Coach Blair was coming from a game when he heard what happened to the 26-year-old. 

“He was such a great young man, for his life to be taken so early was shock,” said Blair.

The last time Blair saw smith was six months ago.

“He was playing pickup with couple of the guys who came back in town, he loved the game and loved the sport,” said Blair.

Coach Blair says losing someone like Smith is hard. He says he knows Smith is in a better place. 

“I put my faith in God. I know Kelly was a Christian, he's in a better spot, than where we are,” said Blair.


PREVIOUS STORY: An Athens,Georgia man is presumed dead after being swept by a wave Friday from the Oregon coastline into the Pacific Ocean, authorities said.

Kelly Bennett Smith, 26, 2008 Baylor School graduate, was visiting the coast for the first time with five other friends after finishing up a job, Oregon State Police said in a news release. He and another friend climbed out on the rocks at the Rocky Creek Scenic View Point shortly before 11 a.m. to get as close to the water to take some photos, when a rogue wave approached and struck them from behind. Smith was pulled by the current out into the rough seas and was seen for about seven minutes, before sinking below the water, police said.

U.S. Coast Guard officers began a search for Smith, but have been unable to find him.

The surf was heavy in the area where Smith was knocked into the ocean, which prevented him from climbing to safety, rescuers told the Statesman Journal newspaper.

This article was written by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution 

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