Vaught's Views: Lincoln should look to Boyle for its next coach

November 28, 2003|LARRY VAUGHT

If Lincoln County is serious about upgrading its football program and wants to put a quick end to its coaching search, all it has to do is look to Boyle County.

Over the last five years, Boyle has become the state's dominant football program. Certainly the Rebels could not make that claim when Chuck Smith arrived in 1992 but an increase in the financial commitment to the sport along with Smith's enthusiasm and system put a program that had become as mediocre as the one at Lincoln now on a level with the state's elite teams.

That's why if Lincoln is serious about giving its next coach the financial support needed to build a winning program - something Robbie Lucas didn't have during his two years before being relieved of his coaching duties recently - then it should look at Boyle assistant coaches Chris Pardue and Chris Mason.

Pardue was a finalist for the job when Lucas was hired. Pardue walked away because he sensed the commitment to football was not there. And he was obviously right based on what Lucas endured.


However, if Lincoln is ready to elevate the coaching salary, hire more full-time assistant coaches and increase the football budget to a competitive level, then maybe Pardue would be more interested this time.

Pardue is the offensive coordinator at Boyle. This year the Rebels are averaging 46 points and 395 yards of total offense per game. If those numbers don't impress you, then try 71-2 - that's Boyle's record for the last five years.

Of course, Mason has also been a big part of that success. He's the line coach at Boyle and has coached such players as Bobby Leffew, Travis Leffew, Brodie Overstreet and Lance Mertz.

They have studied at the Chuck Smith Coaching School

But what qualifies the two Boyle assistants more than anything else is that they have studied at the Chuck Smith Coaching School.

Perry Thomas did the same thing at Allen County-Scottsville and Campbellsville. Now he's the head coach at Paducah Tilghman, a team that won just four games in 1999 before he arrived as head coach. Tonight, his team takes a 13-0 record into its Class AAA semifinal game against Boyle.

David Buchanan worked with Smith at Mercer County. Now he's the head coach at Mason County, which plays Highlands in the other Class AAA semifinal tonight.

"What Chuck does is give his assistant coaches a great deal of power," said Thomas. "He trained me well. When he left Allen County-Scottsville, I went with him because I believed in his way and that he was the best person to help me reach my goals. He was my mentor and friend.

"David Buchanan was part of that Chuck Smith school, too. I'm not trying to make Chuck sound like a shrine, but he's a special coach and there's no doubt in my mind if someone gives one of his assistants at Boyle now a chance to be head coach, they will be a great coach."

Smith doesn't question whether Pardue or Mason could be a successful head coach. The same goes for Jeff Hester, who joined Smith's staff after he resigned as head coach at Garrard County.

But he's not sure any of them would leave - or should leave - for just any job.

"We have such a close staff, and they all have a lot of power and say about what we do," Smith said. "They also don't have to worry about paperwork, organization or dealing with parents.

"Being a head coach is not all that it is cracked up to be. It can be a pain in the rear end at some schools. Just ask Robbie Lucas what he thought about being a head coach after being an assistant at Somerset."

Lincoln says it would like to have a big-name, experienced head coach. That might happen, but don't count on it unless the pay scale triples or a coach has family ties to the Lincoln area.

A much more logical scenario is for Lincoln to invest its money and future in a successful assistant coach who wants a chance to build a program.

It takes time, too. Remember Smith was 2-8 his second year at Boyle. What if the Rebels had sent him packing then like Lincoln did after Lucas' second year?

Stability helps create success and if the Patriots are serious about wanting to reverse their sagging football fortune, they need to take a graduate from the Chuck Smith Coaching School and then give him the time and resources to succeed.

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