Smith, Sphire both have interest in UK jobs

December 20, 2004|LARRY VAUGHT

They both have jobs they like, but coaches Chuck Smith and Bob Sphire also have an interest in coaching at the collegiate level.

That's why both of theses successful high school coaches have been interviewed by Kentucky coach Rich Brooks for openings on his football staff.

Smith has led Boyle to six straight state championship appearances and has won five state crowns from 1999 to 2003. Sphire has developed Lexington Catholic into an annual playoff contender, and last year he also guided the Lexington Horsemen to the National Indoor Football League championship.

Smith, Boyle's coach since 1992, wasn't sure what to expect when he went to Kentucky since he had never interviewed for a Division I-A job before.


"Coach Brooks didn't offer me the job, but it was a good interview," Smith said Sunday night about his 90-minute interview. "It was a good experience for me. We did a lot of stuff on the board, which I felt comfortable doing because I feel like I know a little bit about football."

Smith interviewed about being linebackers coach

Smith, a former Kentucky linebacker, was interviewed about the linebacker coaching position that opened up when Ron McBride resigned to become head coach at Weber State.

The Boyle coach emphasized that he was happy at Boyle, but could not turn down the chance to interview for a college position.

"Most high school coaches dream about the opportunity to coach at the collegiate level, especially at the school they played for," Smith said. "It's a great opportunity. Things like this just don't come along very often."

Smith also talked to Mercer County Superintendent Bruce Johnson last week about the vacant head coaching position there and decided that was not a position he wanted to pursue.

"It was just something that was not for me. I liked everything Mr. Johnson said and think they have the right idea about what to do," Smith said. "They are going in the right direction and they'll land a good coach, but it was not right for me at this time. I have a good job at Boyle County. I am very happy at Boyle County.

"I am in a win-win situation. You owe it to yourself sometimes to look and see what is out there, but that doesn't mean you are unhappy or want to leave."

Sphire feels the same way.

"I love my job at Lexington Catholic. I love coaching the Horsemen," he said. "I am not dissatisfied with what I am doing. I'm not beating the bushes looking for a job and sending out resumes. But should the opportunity present itself, I would be tickled to death to coach at Kentucky."

Sphire interviewed about being quarterback coach

Sphire interviewed for the position as UK's quarterback coach, a job former offensive coordinator Ron Hudson had the last two years. Sphire thinks the way he's developed Catholic's passing game and success he had with former UK quarterback Dusty Bonner last year with the Horsemen justify his interview. He is one of three high school coaches who will speak at the national coaches convention Jan. 10 in Louisville.

"I don't think I am the typical high school coach because of what we have been doing since 1997 when we started spreading the field," Sphire said. "I have put myself in coach Brooks' shoes and know he may wonder if I can work with older guys, but I think what I did with Dusty last year should refute any of those concerns."

Sphire thinks Brooks should have no concerns about hiring Smith, either.

"If I am Rich Brooks, I would absolutely be looking at Chuck Smith," Sphire said. "I don't care if he's only a high school coach because he's a great coach, a great defensive mind and a great teacher of fundamentals.

"I hope we are two of those guys in Kentucky that if coach Brooks is going to hire a high school coach, then we can be two who can coach and represent all the great high school coaches in Kentucky," Sphire said.

Smith said Brooks told him he still had more interviews to do but that he might know something this week. Sphire said he wasn't sure the quarterbacks position would be filled until after Jan. 1.

"Sometimes looking can make you appreciate what you do have even more," Smith said. "It was an honor just to get an interview at Kentucky, but right now that's all it was. Just an interview."

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