Vaught's Views: Following Smith no easy task

December 29, 2004|LARRY VAUGHT

Boyle County has not started its official search for a new football coach to succeed Chuck Smith.

However, two things are obvious. One, current Boyle offensive coordinator Chris Pardue will be the first person interviewed - and should be. Two, the new coach is going to have a huge legacy to follow.

Smith won five straight state titles from 1999-2003 and also took Boyle to the 2004 Class AAA title game. He won 142 games in 13 years and took the Rebels from a mediocre program at best to one of the elite programs in Kentucky.

But now that Smith has resigned to become linebackers coach at the University of Kentucky, Boyle has to find someone to maintain the program's lofty status.


"The job his successor will have is just as overwhelming as the job Chuck had 13 years ago when he came here," said Boyle athletics director Jim Spears. "Then, there were no expectations. If he could have built a program that would have been a consistent playoff team, people would have been overjoyed.

"Now we've been to six straight title games. It's similar to following (former UK basketball coach) Adolph Rupp. It's equally overwhelming, except Chuck's replacement will have so many more pieces for a successful program in place than Chuck had 13 years ago."

Spears says he's confident Boyle fans will understand "one huge cog" from Boyle's championship success will be missing now that Smith has left and not have unreasonable expectations for the new coach.

Still, Spears knows how passionate Boyle fans are about football. He jokes that he's quit wearing Boyle County clothing when he goes out in hopes people won't recognize him and want to talk about the football program.

"We get a lot of suggestions on how to proceed," Spears said. "Most people do have strong feelings about the direction of the program. They want to maintain the program and keep it on top. They want what is best for the kids in the program, or kids that will be in the program."

Spears has met with high school principal Elmer Thomas and superintendent Dr. Pam Rogers about the football search and filling Smith's teaching position for the rest of the year. However, despite rumors that Pardue did meet with Thomas Tuesday, Spears said the football position has not yet been posted as being open.

"We are not in any rush at this point," Spears said.

Search will be "inside-out"

What if another school approached Pardue about being its head coach?

"We are going to have an inside-out search," Spears said. "We have quality people on staff that we want to talk to and that's where we will start. We'll talk about that when we get back to school Jan. 3.

"If there was a reason to make us think we were in a time crunch, I think I would know that. I think people would let me know if I needed to talk to a certain coach. If that happened, we would jump on that pretty quick."

He would like to move quicker on a program to honor Smith for what he's done at Boyle. However, Smith isn't sure what his schedule will be like when he starts at Kentucky Jan. 3 and nothing has been scheduled yet.

"But we are going to have a celebration sendoff for him," Spears said. "When he sees he has a weekend day free, he's going to let us know so we can organize something in his honor."

Boyle should do that because what he has done for the Rebels has been miraculous and likely will never be duplicated at any school. Not only did he win five straight state titles, but he turned Boyle into a football school.

"It's really been overwhelming the amount of interest and comments we've had on the program since Chuck resigned," Spears said. "I don't care if I go to the grocery store or to have my car repaired. Everybody wants to talk about football. It's been overwhelming."

Which is why following Smith is going to be such a daunting task.

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