MBAC Business Counselor
Edward Smith, Jr. is a Business Counselor for the Minority Business Assistance Center (MBAC) at the Akron Urban League. Edward, called “Coach Ed” by most who know him, was born and raised in Akron. He returned home in 2015 to positively impact the Akron community. After graduating from Firestone High School, Coach Ed enlisted in the United States Air Force in 1989. He returned home in 1995 and started his retail career at Best Buy, where he remained employed until 2001, when he relocated to Cincinnati, Ohio. While in Cincinnati for 14 years, Ed was a Real Estate Agent and held positions of Store Manager at Home Depot and District Manager at T-Mobile. During this time, he also volunteered for The Queen City Youth Development Program as a Basketball Coach, Youth Mentor, Academic Monitor/Coach, and Board Member. He also coached high school basketball for Cincinnati Hughes, Cincinnati Aiken, Cincinnati Withrow, and Finneytown HS. During this time, Coach Ed discovered his passion – developing youth through Basketball. That passion led him back to Akron in late 2015.
He started coaching high school basketball at Akron Buchtel (2017-2020) and became a member of the Akron Buchtel P.T.A. Immediately after his time at Buchtel; Coach Ed accepted the role of Associate Head Coach of the Garfield Boys Basketball team, where he currently coaches. He joined the Project Ujima Board of Directors (2020) and was voted President of the Board in 2021. Coach Ed is a volunteer member of the Neighborhood Dads (2019) and a volunteer mentor for the 100 Black Men of Akron. In January of 2023, he was named the Vice President of Programs for the 100 Black Men of Akron.
While in the United States, Air Force Ed served in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, during the Gulf War. He was also awarded the Air Force Achievement Medal, Airman of the Month, Airman of the Deployment, Airman of the Quarter for the Supply Squadron, and Airman of the Quarter for all Military organizations on McConnell Air Force Base.
Coach Ed has continued his service by developing others to reach personal and professional goals. He continued to grow and graduated with his associate degree in Business in 2014. By merging his dedication to service with his ability to develop others, Ed has realized his passion and positively impacted his community.
He resides in Akron with his wife, Donna Smith, and daughter Jada. He is a proud father of three sons Jordan, Jared, and Justin), two daughters (Jayla and Jada), and two grandchildren (Jayda and Jayah). Coach Ed lost his oldest son, Jordan, at 21 to gun violence in Cincinnati.