Scott Smith, former defensive coordinator for the Plano football team, was named the Lake Highlands Head Football Coach and Athletic Coordinator on Monday afternoon.
This will be Smith’s first head coaching job. Smith, 39, has worked in the area for the past 11 years and has spent the past seven at Plano High.
“It’s exciting, not only because it’s my first head coaching job, but it’s also at Lake Highlands n which is pretty big,” Smith said.
According to Plano Head Coach Gerald Brence, the school has known of the possibility of Smith taking the head coaching job.
“We’ve known for a couple of weeks that this was a distinct possibility,” Brence said. “And I’ve known for a while that it was only a matter of time before Scott became a head coach.”
And according to Brence, it can be an emotional roller coaster ride when it comes to a former assistant taking a new job.
“I have mixed emotions on the situation,” Brence said. “I am really happy for Scott, but at the same time very disappointed to lose someone of his caliber.”
For Smith, the opportunity to prove he can succeed at the next level is a challenge and an excitement.
“I’m thoroughly excited about the opportunity,” Smith said. “It’s exciting and an honor to come to a program so rich in history and tradition.”
Top priorities for Smith include getting the players on the same page when it comes to mindset, intensity and focus.
“My first goal is that we hit the ground running in an evaluation of where we’re at,” Smith said. “There’s not much time for changes or an overhaul, so my main goal is to get in there and get the players set in mindset, intensity and focus. As far as adjustments, there’s so much to look at and so little time.”
According to Smith, Lake Highland’s key strength appears to be the depth of the team.
“From the little that I’ve seen, our greatest strength is depth,” Smith said. “We have a lot of returning players and in the one spring game I saw, I like what they’ve got. We have a returning quarterback and wide receiver with good skills and a nucleus which has been very successful.”
For Smith, nothing compares to the competition in Lake Highland’s district.
“Looking ahead, we’re going to have seven games in our district and none of them will be easy. There’s not a down week in district 9-5A.”
If Coach Smith could describe his new team in one word, it would be ‘character.’
“If there’s one thing I am looking for in a team, its character,” Smith said. “If a team doesn’t have character, they are going to struggle.”
As far as strengths and weaknesses of the Lake Highlands football team, Smith said he believes his offense is strong, but his defense is young.
“We have a quarterback who I believe will be a solid piece of the puzzle and a returning wide receiver who will make a tremendous impact,” Smith said. “On the defensive side of the ball, we have a lot of young talent that must be molded into an experienced group of athletes.”
Besides his job as the defensive coordinator at Plano High, Smith also spent the previous five years in Allen.
But nothing in Smith’s resume can prepare him for the task at hand this season n taking on his former team in a district match-up.
“We will be playing Plano in a district 9-5A match-up in week five, I believe,” Smith said. “That will be a bitter-sweet ending. I’ve been there for years and seen those kids grow and develop, but I’m also very excited about being the head coach here at Lake Highlands and what we can do with these kids.
“It’s going to be difficult n for both me and those Plano kids. But they’re going to go out there and do the same as me n give them everything they’ve got.”