After a tumultuous football season last year, Greenbrier High School will leave the past behind and start next season with a new football coach.
Brian Smith, Greenbrier's former defensive backs coach, was selected Friday to become the new head football coach by a committee of five coaches and administrators.
"It was tough because we felt like the people that we interviewed were all very strong candidates and all of them had a lot of great qualities." said Garrett Black, the school's athletic director. "When it was all said and done, coach Smith seemed to stand out a little more and the committee felt that coach Smith was the one."
Smith has been coaching for 10 years. He coached at North Augusta High School before moving to Greenbrier in 2004. After one year at Greenbrier, he returned to North Augusta for two years as the defensive coordinator and strength coach. Last year, he went back to Greenbrier to coach defensive backs under Scott Chadwick.
Smith resides in North Augusta and said he returned in 2005 to coach at the high school there because he and his wife have four small children. Since spring, they have had their house on the market in hopes of moving to Columbia County.
Smith worked at the Department of Veterans Affairs in Augusta for five years before realizing his passions.
"I felt like I was called to go into teaching and coaching," Smith said. "I quit my job and went back and got my education degree and started to pursue that route. I've never turned back. It's the best decision I've ever made."
Last season's football scandal involving the use of ineligible players led to Chadwick's resignation in December. Smith said he is determined to put it all in the past.
"We've come a long way and, really, what we're trying to do is focus on what's ahead and not looking at last year," Smith said. "Last year is gone, and we're looking at the future."
Greenbrier's football team will also face a new challenge when it moves up to Class AAAAA status next year.
"Every week is going to be competitive," Smith said. "It's going to be difficult, but I think our guys are resilient."
He said he told his players last week that before you can be considered one of the best you have to the play the best.
Smith said he expects all the staff to stay in place, and he learned how important staff chemistry is from Mickey Derrick, Greenbrier's football coach in 2004.
"One of the things I'm looking most forward to is really working with these guys on a personal level," Smith said. "They're just phenomenal, and I can't say enough good about them."
After Greenbrier's committee chose Smith, the decision was then turned over to the county office and board of education.
Smith was to officially become Greenbrier's head football coach with the approval from the Board of Education on Tuesday night.
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