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Riverside's Smith resigns, says it's 'time to step away'

By Jim Fair, Editor
Published on Friday, January 19, 2018

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Phil Smith resigned as head football coach at Riverside High School.
 

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Phil Smith resigned as head football coach at Riverside High School.

 

Phil Smith has resigned as Riverside High School head football coach effective immediately. He coached the Warriors for five years compiling a 10-44 record including a 1-9 record, 0-5 in Region II, last year.

Smith met with Principal Andy Crowley last Wednesday to discuss the coaching job. “We talked about my future and what my goals were,” Smith said.

Smith said he talked it over with his family and decided to step away from the head coach position.

Smith had a team meeting Tuesday after school that had most of the returning players disappointed he was leaving, according to some players attending the meeting. That leaves Riverside without a football coach or an interim named to direct the returning players during spring workouts and weight/conditioning programs.

“I think last season was the hardest I had in coaching,” Smith said. “We had high expectations, so high, and it didn’t happen. We put so much time and effort and didn’t see the result on the scoreboard at the end of the night.”

Smith said the season wore on him near the end of the schedule. “I had some blood pressure issues at the end of the season and I think this is best move for me and my family.”

Reports out of Riverside indicated he would be joining Boiling Springs as an assistant coach. “That’s not true and I don’t know where that is coming from,” Smith said. “I have a teaching contract at Riverside and plan on honoring that. Nothing is in the works. I am building a house here and plan on staying in the area.”

Smith led Riverside’s entry into Class AAAAA football and led the Warriors to their first playoff berth and most wins (5-7) in five years in his second season.

Andrew Brown, rising senior quarterback, said most players were expecting to get their spring workout schedules on Tuesday when Smith called for the meeting. “

“It was a surprise to most of us when Coach Smith announced he was resigning,” Brown said. “He walked into the meeting and handed us a church bulletin with Tommy Bowden on it.”

Brown said Smith’s departure couldn’t have come at a worse time for him. “I was completely shocked,” Brown said. “I really like (Coach Smith) a lot and I was here with him my freshman year and looking forward to next year. “

Brown said there has been time to gather with teammates with school dismissed for snow and ice since the announcement. “We were going through some names trying to figure out who would be our coach.”

Brian Strickland, Clarence Lewis, Murray Long, and an athletic trainer attended Smith’s announcement to the team.

“Coach Smith worked hard with us,” Brown said. “I hope the other coaches will stay.”

Riverside administrators plan on interviewing internally before seeking outside applications, according to reports. 

 

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