The road Kyle Smithpeters has paved at John A. Logan College has been nothing but a successful one.
Since the Harrisburg native and SIU basketball alum stepped foot on the Carterville campus seven years ago, all Smithpeters has won, walking tall to the tune of a 166-56 overall record.
That includes six straight seasons of 20-plus wins -- and fifth Great River Athletic Conference Coach Of The Year honors, the latest coming this past week.
"It's a fabulous award," Smithpeters said. "It's a very prestigious and honorable award, but at the end of the day, it's about the kids on your team and how you help prepare them, whether that be in basketball or in life."
Smithpeters and the Vols, who finished the season ranked No. 5 in the nation, were 27-5 and were co-champions of the GRAC and did so with the play of a handful of players, three of which who garnered national honors.
Freshman Jay Scrub was named NJCAA Region 24 Player of the Year and sophomore David Sloan was named GRAC Player of the Year. The two were joined on the all-conference and all-region teams by sophomore Vonnie Patterson.
Scrubb averaged 19.5 points and 8.6 rebounds per game while shooting 46 percent from 3-point range and 79 percent from the free throw line.
Sloan led the nation in assists for the second straight year with 10.2 dimes per game. He averaged 16.1 points per game, while Patterson averaged 15.2 points and 7.3 rebounds per game.
Smithpeters, 36, has picked up his fair share of honors as well. He's won Coach of the Year five out of the last seven years and this is his third in a row.
He said in a conference like the GRAC, that is no easy task.
"Not enough people appreciate or respect how good our conference is. There are a lot of good coaches and even better teams, especially this year. There were several teams ranked in the Top 25 and a handful of teams with 20-plus wins.
"I'm fortunate at Logan to be surrounded by an excellent coaching staff that gets a lot more done then people realize, plus, we've been fortunate to have a lot of good players."
The fact that Smithpeters has won his third straight COY honor only leaves him hungry for more, but makes him also appreciate where he is at.
"We play at a national level with a national schedule here at John A. Logan. Twenty wins is hard to come by with who we play and to do able to do it consistently, I know three things has to happen. I have to be surrounded by great assistants. We have to recruit and maintain talent at a very high level and I have to have the support from an amazing administration. When you want to have a successful program, that's what it takes."
Spyder Dann covers prep and college sports for the Southern Illinois Local Media News Group. Follow him on Twitter: @spydieshooter.