“Ian played for me in 2009-2010 during my first two years here,” said Three Rivers High School head coach Randy Palmer.
Smith was a running back and linebacker for the Bulldogs.
“He was a tremendous athlete, a tremendous competitor with great intensity,” Palmer said. “He was a role model for a lot of the kids. Kids, now, looked up to him.”
Palmer said sophomores and freshmen who knew Smith saw him as a great leader.
“He played hard and was a very respectable kid,” Palmer added.
“I feel privileged to have gotten to know him. I feel very lucky... I was a part of his life.”
Superintendent Kenneth Rohrbach, who was principal during most of the time Smith attended Three Rivers High School, said this was a “tragic loss.”
“I served as his principal. He always had a smile on his face,” Rohrbach said.
“He was very popular and outstanding – just a good kid,” Rohrbach said.
“He went on and did what he did at Sol Ross State University,” he added.
Smith was driving his 2005 Ford pickup north on state Highway 18 about 27.6 miles north of Fort Stockton when his vehicle left the roadway, entered into a right-side skid and overturned.
The speed limit was 75 mph, and the road conditions were dry, according to DPS oficials.
And Smith was wearing his seat belts.
Justice of the Peace Juan Freddie Lujan pronounced Smith dead at the scene at 8:12 a.m.
His body was taken to Heritage Funeral Home in Fort Stockton.
A memorial service was held in in Alpine 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 11.
In Three Rivers, family visitation will be Thursday and Friday, Dec. 13-14, at the Galloway Funeral Home.
And a funeral service will be held at the High School Auditorium at 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15.
Services are under the direction of Galloway and Sons Funeral Home of Three Rivers.