The 33 year-old football coach was approved Tuesday night by the Marshall County School Board to be the next head football coach of the Byhalia High School Indians. Smith is expected to start in Byhalia on Monday, but he has not been released from his contract with the Shaw School District. The Shaw School Board is scheduled to meet tonight.
For Smith, the opportunity was one he could not turn down.
“I’m just blessed to have this opportunity,” Smith said. “The Lord keeps opening doors for me, and I’m trying to take advantage of every opportunity that he gives me. Having a chance to move this way is great for my family. It’s an area we have talked about residing in for a long time, and it’s just a good move for everybody.”
On the football side of the equation, Smith will be leaving behind a Shaw team that he took to the 1A State Championship game in the 2011 season and the 1A North Half Championship game in 2012. Smith made the playoffs in all four seasons as the head coach of the Hawks and compiled a 32-18 record.
Over the past four seasons in Byhalia, the team had two coaches in John Dandy and Markeith Washington who went a combined 22-27. In the 2013 season, the Indians made the jump from 3A to 4A and finished the year 4-8.
Smith understands the challenge will be great moving from 1A ball to 4A ball, but believes he’s prepared for whatever comes his way.
“The expectations at this school will be high, but I’m ready for the challenge and I’m ready to meet my new team,” Smith said. “I feel like I’m going into a similar situation that I had when I took over in Shaw. The expectations aren’t coming from Byhalia, they are coming from what I expect of myself.”
As Smith moves forward in his career, he believes the same formula that worked at Shaw will serve him well at Byhalia.
“Hard work and keeping God first. Those are the main ingredients to building a successful program for me. After that you have to love your kids and let them know that you care about them and having a good staff around you that sees your vision and your plan and put it to work,” Smith added.
According to Smith, starting in Shaw was great for him because he learned so much.
“Being in Shaw I learned that it doesn’t matter how much talent you have, you have to do what you’re supposed to do as a coach,” Smith said. “With us being picked to win this past season and being put out in the first round, I learned the importance of remaining firm and tough on your kids no matter how many seniors you have. I take a lot of blame from last season because I feel I let up on my discipline and that’s on me. In the future. It doesn’t matter who you are or how talented you may be, if you don’t do what you’re supposed to do you will suffer the consequence.”
Overall Smith said being in Shaw was great.
“It was one hell of a run,” Smith said. “I enjoyed my four years as a head coach at Shaw High School. I will forever be grateful to the kids at Shaw because they help me with my career. I owe a lot to those kids for believing in me and working hard for this team.”