Philip Smith stepped down from his post recently, ending a nine-year stint as the Bears’ head coach. He’s been involved with the school’s football program since coming to the school as an assistant in 2001.
“For the last 12 or 13 years, everything has revolved around the football program,” Smith, 36, said. “I know a lot of people say this, but I want to spend more time with my family. My daughter is about to be 15 and my son is 10. This wasn’t an easy decision. I’ve prayed about it and prayed about it. I just felt like the time was right. I’ve had a great time at Lynn. I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.”
Smith will stay at the school through the end of the school year and plans to coach the Lynn softball team this spring.
Under Smith’s direction, the Bears’ football team enjoyed one of the most successful runs in school history. Smith led the Bears to the state playoffs seven straight years (2005-2011). His career record is 67-35 and he put together a 45-20 mark in region play.
Smith, a 1994 Lynn High School graduate, was named the Bears’ head football coach heading into the 2004 season. He took over a Lynn team that had won five games in the previous two years. He went 5-5 in his first season, falling short of the playoffs by one game due to a 21-14 loss to Marion County.
Lynn won its first playoff game in six years in 2006, finishing 9-3.
The Bears put together a strong run from 2009-2011, going 9-3, 11-2 and 9-3 respectively. The Bears lost to eventual state runner up R.A. Hubbard 34-30 in the 2010 semifinals. In 2011, the Bears reached the No. 1 spot in the poll for the first time in school history following an 8-0 start. Key injuries down the stretch resulted in Lynn finishing the regular season with back-to-back losses and a 9-3 mark overall.
“There were a few times where we were a couple of injuries away from having a chance to win it. It’s been a great run. I’m thankful to be a part of it. I bleed red and black. I transferred to Lynn as a freshman in high school and I’ve been there ever since. All I ever wanted to do was be the head coach at Lynn High School. I got a chance to do that and we were able to be as successful as the school’s ever been. We won a lot of games,” Smith said. “We’ve won the county championship three of the last four years. It’s been a great run.
“There are a lot of special things I will take with me from my time here. The most important to me is the relationships I’ve built with the kids and their families.”
Smith doesn’t rule out a return to the sidelines.
“Right now I’m going to take some time off, but I do see myself getting back into it. I’m still planning on teaching at Lynn right now. If a coach comes in here and needs help, I wouldn’t mind helping them. We will just wait and see how it goes,” Smith said.
With the Lynn job opening, there are now three area schools searching for new head football coaches.
Both Cordova and Sumiton Christian have openings as well.