Coach Smothers’ Departure: The End of a Leesville Legacy

Coach Chad Smothers looked on as the Leesville Pride football team beat Wakefield 52-24 in 2012. Smothers also coached varsity baseball at Leesville.
Coach Chad Smothers looked on as the Leesville Pride football team beat Wakefield 52-24 in 2012. Smothers also coached varsity baseball at Leesville.

Coach Chad Smothers looked on as the Leesville Pride football team beat Wakefield 52-24 in 2012. Smothers also coached varsity baseball at Leesville.

After nine years at Leesville, including three as head coach of varsity football, coach Chad Smothers will step down. He has accepted the Athletic Director position at Knightdale High School.

Smothers has enjoyed much success while coaching at Leesville. He won’t only be remembered by his star-studded football teams, but also by his years as the head of the varsity baseball program.

Guy Civitello, current head baseball coach, has seen the improvement Smothers has spearheaded in Leesville athletics. “He has been a huge part of the athletic program as the defensive coordinator of football and the head coach in football and baseball,” he said. “He has definitely affected student-athletes in a positive way.”

Before he was appointed to head coach, Smothers served as the defensive coordinator. It was clear to everyone after he was appointed to head coach that he was the right choice, as the Pride achieved immediate results. Smothers led his team to a 32-6 record in three seasons. The team went undefeated until the third round of playoffs in two of those seasons.

Smothers loves looking back on the improvement and accomplishments his teams’ achieved from year to year.

“Over my 20 years [of coaching], the nine years that I have spent here have been some of the most enjoyable and memorable years of my career,” he said. “The athletic accomplishments as a coach have been second to none.”

“Being a part of a football program that in 2005 was 1-9 and watching it grow to where it is in the year 2014 is just awesome. I even remember back in 2007-08 when I was able to coach in both the Eastern Regional Finals for both our baseball and football teams. Those are some of the things I will always keep in mind,” said Smothers.

Smothers also puts heavy emphasis on the student-athlete concept. Seldom does a team meeting or function go by in which he doesn’t mention that the players have to keep working hard in school just like on the field.

Smothers also said, “The culture of excellence at our school is something I’ll always appreciate, especially the culture of the student athlete. It’s something that I will take with me and implement in my new role at Knightdale. And remember, I’m not dead yet. I’ll still keep in touch with my students and athletes here at Leesville.”

Just like any significant coaching change, Leesville’s transition will require the players to prove themselves all over again. Many of the players agree that it will help the team and inspire a newfound work ethic to prove themselves. It will take time, especially since no coach is in place at the moment, but things will keep rolling as they have been to prepare for next season.

“Whoever will be the new coach, we have to be open to the change associated with that,” said snapper Harry Freeman, rising junior.

“I will miss most the walk down to the basement of the East Building, where we would line up and listen intently to his speech,” Freeman said. “The Smothers pregame speech is something that would get anyone fired up. I will miss that the most.”

Whether it’s the pregame speeches, the work ethic he instilled, the southern sense of humor he possessed, or the unmatched love of the game he radiated, Smothers has left his print on the Pride football program. He will be missed not only by his students, but his colleagues and fellow coaches too.

Smothers is not officially working at Knightdale High School until July 1, which gives him time to ensure the transition runs smoothly. If you see him in the halls, it wouldn’t hurt to wish him luck in his new endeavour.

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