The 23-year-old today put pen to paper on a new deal at Wantage Road and committed his immediate future to the County.
And after a season that has so far seen him take 43 LV= County Championship wickets in a push for promotion, play a key role in securing the club’s first silverware for 21 years and get a call to the England Lions squad, it is a huge boost for Northamptonshire to retain his services.
Smith, for one, is delighted.
“I think this is a real statement of our intent at Northamptonshire,” he said.
“I’m sure there would have been a queue of other clubs trying to sign him but David wants to play his cricket here.
“He’s seen what is happening at the club and he wanted to stay for three more years.
“It’s a statement to other clubs and to all the players of how we are working to move the club forward and how we think there are even better things to come.
“It is also key that after winning a trophy you do what you can to hold on to your better players.
“David definitely falls into that category and we are very pleased he will be staying with us.”
Smith also insists it is not just the obvious benefit of Willey’s talent as a player that makes him such an important member of the Northamptonshire squad.
The chief executive added: “David’s a local lad and he keeps that family tradition at the club going following on from his dad.
“He’s been right through our system so he knows all about what it means to play here.
“And he has made it clear to me right through our discussions that he is a local lad, he enjoys playing here, he wants to keep on playing here and he was keen to stay.
“It is also good for us because he is one of our more marketable players as well.
“And that is on top of his playing ability.
“What he has given us this season has been excellent.
“His performance in that T20 final was outstanding.
“He has been a vital part in an obvious improvement at the club over the last 12 months or so.”
Smith also paid tribute to the role of head coach David Ripley in making Wantage Road a place people want to be.
“Credit has to go to David for the work he has done,” Smith said.
“He has created an environment where people are enjoying their cricket and a dressing-room that people want to be a part of.
“Things like that are key in helping us keep quality players like David Willey.”