Curry’s Smith steps down after four years as football coach

By JOHNATHAN BENTLEY, Eagle Sports Editor
Posted 4/17/19

Philip Smith’s tenure as the Curry head football coach is over after four years.Smith stepped down from his position last Tuesday.“It’s just something I’ve thought about really for the past …

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Curry’s Smith steps down after four years as football coach

Posted

Philip Smith’s tenure as the Curry head football coach is over after four years.

Smith stepped down from his position last Tuesday.

“It’s just something I’ve thought about really for the past couple of years,” Smith said. “With spring practice coming up you ask yourself, ‘Do I want to go through it again?’ The timing is right. It’s bittersweet. I feel like the program is going in the right direction. I’ve been able to coach my son. We’ve done some good things.”

The Yellow Jackets improved steadily during Smith’s tenure. After winning three games over his first two seasons, Curry won four games in 2017 and went 5-6 and advanced to the playoffs for the first time since 2011 last year. 

Curry was able to turn the corner when Smith’s son Luke was moved into the quarterback spot. Luke will be a junior next season.  

Smith said a return to coaching in the future isn’t out of the question though it would have to be the “perfect situation.”

“Going home at 3:30 and being a fan in the stands doesn’t sound like a bad idea right now,” Smith said. “I’m sure as the season gets closer I will have a little itch. I’m not sure if getting back into a head coaching job is the direction I want to go. To be honest, it may be in an assistant role. I really enjoyed my time at Curry, I may just hang around here and root for them.”

Smith’s stint at Curry started as an assistant coach under Russell Funk in 2015. That same year he was moved into the role of the school’s head softball coach. He led Curry to a pair of state softball championships behind current SEC players Ashlee Swindle (Auburn) and Kaylee Horton (Ole Miss).

“It’s been a great experience. I wish we could have been more successful than we were. It’s a tough job, I knew that coming in. I felt like we got better every year and took our first major step last year. A play here and a play there and we could’ve been 7-3 or 8-2. I think that (progress) will continue,” said Smith.

“I put everything I had into the last four years. We were able to get it back to respectable. I made some good memories and made some good friends here. This will be a time I will look back on and cherish.”

Curry Principal Eric Woodley praised the work of Smith.

“He’s done great things at Curry High School. The football team has had more success the past couple of years than they did the previous eight or 10 years. He’s just finally at the point where he’s ready to hang it up,” Woodley said. 

Jeff Foshee, who served as the head coach at Class 6A Stanhope Elmore from 2000 to 2015, is Curry’s interim coach. He was an assistant under Smith last season. 

“He will be our interim coach in the spring,” Woodley said. “We will post the job and do some interviews and take the next step from there. Coach Smith got (the football program) going in the right direction. Hopefully we can keep the thing rolling.”