CLOVER — Easley coach Chad Smith was named the new head football coach at Clover High School on Tuesday.
Smith, a Pickens native who begins work Jan. 21, comes from Easley High School, where he was head football coach since July 2009. He replaces John Barrett, who served as Clovers interim coach after John Devine abruptly resigned four games into the season.
Smiths arrival at Clover follows three successful years with Green Wave football. He led Easley to a three-year record of 29-9, the best such run in school history, while reaching the second round of the state playoffs twice.
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The Green Wave also set a school record this year for most points scored in a season (397). Smith led Easley to an 11-2 record in 2011 and earned Class AAAA Upper State Coach of the Year honors.
Ill be very involved and I want everyone to understand this program is about a lot more than Chad Smith, he said Tuesday. This is the Clover football program; this is the Clover football family. Were going to embrace the community and I want them to take ownership of our football program again.
Smith said he noticed something special last summer, while visiting Clover for a scrimmage against the Blue Eagles during what was arguably the lowest of lows in Clover football history.
Despite what the program had gone through, the community was still there, still present and treated us wonderfully when we were here, he said. I knew this place was special.
Easley went 1-10 the year before Smith arrived, a fact that will have grabbed the attention of Clover administrators. The Blue Eagles finished this past season 0-11, and hope that Smith can turn things around for a program that won a state title only five years back and averaged nearly nine wins per season from 2000 to 2009.
Smith, a 2001 graduate of Concord (W.Va.) University, was head coach for two years at Northern Nash (N.C.) High School. He also worked at West Montgomery High School and Rocky Mount High School as an assistant coach.
Easley was blanked 34-0 by Northwestern in the first round of the Class AAAA Division II state playoffs this season, but finished with at least nine wins for the third straight year under Smith.
Athletics director Carroll Hester said Smith has a deep commitment to his athletes. He will help to rebuild a football program of pride and tradition that the Clover football family and community have grown to love.
Smith is a graduate of Pickens High School. His wife, Hannah, is a West Virginia native and was a four-year all conference soccer player at Concord, earning a degree in business management. They have three boys, Hunter, 7, Ashton, 5, and Shepherd, 3, with another boy, Bennett, due this month.