Smith leaving Boyle for UK job

December 21, 2004|LARRY VAUGHT

After spending 13 years turning the Boyle County football program into one of the best in the state, Chuck Smith is leaving to try and do the same rebuilding job at the University of Kentucky.

Smith was offered a job as assistant coach Monday afternoon by UK coach Rich Brooks, and quickly accepted the position. He called Boyle officials after saying yes to Brooks to tell them he was resigning.

“I always hoped I could retire before I would have to deal with this,” Boyle athletics director Jim Spears said. “I’ve known him as a friend and coaching colleague. I am excited for him and know he will be an asset to coach Brooks’ staff. He will be sadly missed here. We all knew this day would come because of the huge impact he made on Kentucky football.

“There could not be any high school coach with a higher level of credibility than Chuck Smith. There might be other coaches as highly regarded, but none could be more highly regarded than him. His numbers speak for themselves.”


They certainly do.

A 142-33 record at Boyle

He has a 142-33 record at Boyle, including four perfect seasons and nine years with 10 or more wins. His teams won five straight state championships from 1999-2003, an unprecedented feat in Kentucky. Boyle also went back to the state title game this year for a record sixth straight time when it lost to Highlands.

The Rebels also had a 47-game win streak from 1999-2002, the second longest in state history.

“I was kind of stunned and shocked a little bit when he called to tell me the news,” said Boyle junior linebacker Andrew Bertram. “But when an opportunity like this comes along, you have to take it. It’s an honor to think that the coach we will be watching at Kentucky next year coached us, too.”

Smith, a linebacker at Kentucky from 1978-80, was in western Kentucky Monday to watch his son, Brandon, play basketball for Boyle in the Laker Holiday Classic in Callaway County. He’s not due back in town until tonight and could not be reached for comment on his new job. Brooks also did not return phone calls, and a Kentucky spokesman said no immediate announcement was planned on UK’s coaching positions.

The Cats have two openings on their staff created by the resignations of linebacker coach Ron McBride and offensive coordinator Ron Hudson. Hudson coached the quarterbacks last year.

High school coaches Bob Sphire of Lexington Catholic and Bret Burnett of Elizabethtown both interviewed for the job as UK’s quarterback coach but were told by Brooks Monday that they would not be hired.

Steve Pardue, a high school coach in LaGrange, Ga., was also interviewed for the job as linebacker coach. He was reportedly offered the job but turned it down for family reasons. He is not related to the Boyle County assistant coach, Chris Pardue.

Smith said Sunday that he felt his interview with Brooks went well but that he was not sure if he would be offered the job.

Praise from fellow coaches

Former UK offensive coordinator Tony Franklin, who was head coach at Mercer County when he left to join Hal Mumme’s staff at Kentucky, thinks it was an obvious hire for Brooks.

“Chuck Smith has done everything a high school coach in Kentucky can do,” Franklin said. “To have hired a high school coach and it not have been Chuck Smith would have been wrong. No one deserved this job more than him. I don’t know how they could not have hired Chuck Smith.”

Danville coach Sam Harp feels the same way.

“I think if you can coach, you can coach on any level, and Chuck Smith can flat out coach,” Harp said. “I think it is a good thing to hire a former player and keep it in the family so to speak. Kentucky football means a great deal to him, and he’ll put all the work he possibly can into the program. I thought this would be a really good job for him, and I am happy they gave him this opportunity.”

So is Chris Pardue, Boyle’s offensive coordinator. He has worked 13 years with Smith at Boyle.

“I think it is a great opportunity for him. He’s worked hard for this and will do a great job,” Pardue said. “He takes a lot of pride in Kentucky football because he played for them.”

Hometown Radio sportscaster Steve Bertram is Boyle’s play-by-play announcer. He’s also had two sons play for Smith.

“As a sportscaster, it has been a great ride with Chuck,” Steve Bertram said. “Chuck has done a lot to bring the program to where it is. But I guess everyone knew this had to happen sooner or later.

“As a parent, I definitely wanted him to stay one more year and coach my son (Andrew) his last year. You just don’t want this to happen, but you can’t blame Chuck for making this move. It’s just too good of an opportunity for him not to take.”

Smith called his players and staff Monday

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