He's known as the "Bone Crusher," a former boxer who's been in the ring with the likes of Mike Tyson.
Today James Smith is a motivational speaker. He travels around the country, teaching kids how to box and golf.
Mixed with sports is a lesson about taking charge of your life.
"A lot of times people blame others for their successes or failings, but really it's up to them," said Smith. "They need to constantly look in the mirror."
Smith was the first college graduate to become World Heavyweight Boxing Champion. He's been selected for induction into the World Boxing Hall of Fame in 2012 and plans to open a Boxing Hall of Fame Museum in his current home of Myrtle Beach, SC.
Smith will speak Wednesday night at 6:00 p.m., inside Humbles Hall at Virginia University of Lynchburg.