|Young hire Smith gives OC new blood |
|Posted: Friday, June 4, 2010 5:06 pm |
The Obion County Central baseball program is getting an infusion of young blood.
A pair of 20-somethings — Chris Smith (23) and Justin Truett (25) — have been named to lead the Rebel fortunes, hoping to pump life into a sport that has not had a winning season since 2004 and is a combined 70 games below .500 during that time.
Smith, who was hired as an OCCHS football assistant in early May, will be the head coach. Truett — who has been in the Obion County School System for a year as the head football coach and an assistant in basketball at Hillcrest — will serve as the lead assistant.
A third position, either already on school staff or a paraprofessional, will be added to the program at a later date.
Smith replaces Russ Davis, who officially resigned last month to focus his full attention on his new position of Career Technological Director for the Obion County School System.
Despite his youthfulness and inexperience, the new OC skipper insistes he’ll bring an old-school approach to the program.
“We will work hard — and not just during the season — and we will do things the right way,” Smith said. “We will be aggressive, but we will be disciplined, too.
“I want to change the attitude in the program. I want to teach them what it takes to be winners.”
Smith insisted, too, those who believe he’s simply a football coach who has been assigned the baseball job as an afterthought are terribly mistaken.
“I may actually have more of a baseball background than in football,” said Smith, who was a two-time all-stater at Blytheville (Ark.) in baseball while setting numerous school records as a pitcher/centerfielder. “I’m not just a football coach who plans on being a baseball coach on the side.
“The second that football is over in the fall, we’ll start baseball and our offseason program. We’re already lifting weights and training as a team this summer, and I’ll be evaluating prospective players all summer while they play summer league and travel ball.”
The obvious lack of experience for both Smith and Truett was not a deterrent in the hiring of the two for the Central baseball vacancy.
“They’re going to make some mistakes, I’m sure, but I believe they’ll be mistakes of effort and enthusiasm,” OCCHS Athletic Director Tommy Victory said. “It’s a good hire, I think. I believe it’s going to be a good situation for both them and our program.
“Russ did a good job with the program, but I think it’s going to help to have someone in charge on campus with the kids. And with (Chris) Smith being a football assistant, he’ll be around those kids who play both sports year-round.”
Davis spent three seasons as the OC head coach and several more before that as an assistant in the program during a 22-year career in the business that also included a decade-long stay at Lake County.
The Rebels did show marginal signs of improvement under his watch with increased win totals in each of his campaigns and multiple postseason triumphs during that time.
Smith, who was also an all-stater on the prep level in football at Blytheville and then played four seasons at Henderson State of the Gulf South Conference, will coach receivers for the OCCHS football team.
He played his senior season for Rebel head coach Shawn Jackson at Blytheville.
Truett is the son of former Union City coach and now-retired Huntingdon school administrator Danny Truett.
Sports editor Mike Hutchens can be contacted by e-mail at email@example.com.