Coach surprises girlfriend with proposal at pep rally|[10/14/06]

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 14, 2006

The pep rally Friday morning at Porters Chapel Academy was no ordinary event.

Before a packed gymnasium, the school’s athletic director and junior varsity multi-sport coach, 27-year-old Chris Busby, asked his girlfriend to marry him.

&#8220I was totally surprised,” said Mitzi Smith, 34. &#8220They told me to come here because the pee-wee cheerleaders were doing a dance. So, I thought I was here to see my daughter dance.”

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With Rascal Flatts’ &#8220Bless the Broken Road” playing in the background, Busby bent down on one knee and popped the question.

Smith, with her children Katie Locke, 11 and Jordan Locke, 9, both PCA students, standing by her side, sealed the deal with a hug and a kiss. Smith also has a 4-year-old son, Jared Locke.

&#8220When he called me out of the bleachers, all I could say is, ‘Oh my God,’” Smith said. &#8220It looks like everybody knew except me.”

Proposing at sports events runs in the Busby family.

&#8220About three Thanksgivings ago at the State-Ole Miss game, my younger brother, John, proposed to his girlfriend on the 50-yard-line after the game,” Busby said. &#8220They’ve been married over two years, and have a child now. That’s kind of where the idea came from.”

Smith and Busby had been friends for several years before they started dating in mid-May.

&#8220It’s been history since then,” he said. &#8220I got the ring two weeks ago, and this week was the first time I’ve slept since I bought it. Every time I was around it, it made me nervous.”

Michael Busby knows just how nervous his brother was.

&#8220I’ve known about it since Wednesday, and about 1 o’clock every morning he would send me text messages talking about how nervous he was,” said the 17-year-old PCA football player.

The couple hasn’t set a wedding date yet. Busby said he’s leaving it up to his future bride.

&#8220Everything happened so fast,” said Smith. &#8220I’m still in shock and haven’t had time to think about a date. Chris is just awesome. He genuinely loves kids, and I know he really loves my children. I just can’t stop shaking.”