New Clover High Head Football Coach Chad Smith may have been just what the doctor ordered to bring an end to the Eagles’ past two losing seasons.
School district officials tapped Smith Tuesday to lead the struggling program, after Smith’s successful efforts to turn a team with only one win in two seasons in Easley to a team that made the playoffs three years in a row.
Smith says that’s just what he wants to do in York County.
33-year-old Smith is a native of Pickens and spent three years coaching the Easley squad and was named Upper State Coach of the Year in 2011. In three seasons leading the Green Wave, the team racked up a 29 and 9 record.
“I’ll be very involved and I want everyone to understand this program is about a lot more than Chad Smith,” Smith said. “This is the Clover football program; this is the Clover football family. We’re going to embrace the community and I want them to take ownership of our football program again.”
Smith noticed something special last summer while in town for a scrimmage against the Blue Eagles during what was arguably the lowest of lows in Clover football history.
“Despite what the program had gone through, the community was still there, still present and treated us wonderfully when we were here. I knew this place was special. I want to be a part of that and I want to be able to lead that. Clover has so much to offer.”
Smith’s career began as offensive line coach and strength coordinator at West Montgomery High School in Mt. Gilead, N.C. During his tenure, the Warriors advanced to the second round of the playoffs for the first time in more than 15 years. The team also set a school single-season record for rushing.
Smith then served as assistant head coach and offensive coordinator at Rocky Mount, N.C., High School under North Carolina coaching legend B.W. Holt, who has won more than 300 games in his career. Smith was Holt’s “right hand man” for six seasons.
The Rocky Mount offensive unit set, re-set or tied more than 50 school records at the tradition-rich school. During Smith’s time there, the team won three conference titles and earned a 43-10 overall record, going 7-4 in the playoffs.
Smith was then hired as head football coach and strength coordinator at Rocky Mount’s rival school, Northern Nash High School, also in Rocky Mount, N.C. He helped the downtrodden program get back on track before returning home to South Carolina to be the strength coordinator at Easley. He was promoted to head coach at Easley after one season.
Smith played center at Concord University in West Virginia from 1998-2001.He was named a Scholastic All-American in 2000 and 2001, and was the team captain in 2001. At Concord, he also earned accolades for his character, leadership and academic performance.
He was the recipient of the Deloris Montgomery Award for Outstanding Character and Leadership in 2001, as well as the Mountain Lion Award, given to the senior football player with the highest academic standing. He graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in social studies education. He is also certified in PE and weight training.
Smith is a graduate of Pickens High School in Pickens, S.C. His wife, Hannah, is a West Virginia native and was a four year all-conference soccer player at Concord, earning a degree in business management. They have three boys – Hunter (7), Ashton (5), and Shepherd (3), with another boy, Bennett, due this month.