When Loganville takes the field at home for the first time on Sept. 20, it’ll be a moment that Brad Smith will want to soak in, but he’s not sure if he can.
“Hopefully I’ll be focused on the game plan, but I’ll have to take a minute to be like ‘Wow, this is really happening’” Smith said. “It’s going to be crazy. I haven’t fully wrapped my head around it yet. I hope I take a second to embrace that a little bit.”
For Smith, it’s a dream that’s finally coming true. He’s returning to his high school alma mater as the head football coach.
“It’s just surreal,” Smith said. “Growing up I never thought I would have the opportunity to come back and coach where I played. I could not be in a better situation.”
The Walton County Board of Education approved 2004 LHS graduate and current Calhoun assistant coach Brad Smith to become the Red Devils’ next head football coach Tuesday night at the board’s monthly meeting.
Smith spent the past season as the running backs coach at Calhoun High School where he helped the Yellow Jackets to a 19th straight Sweet 16 appearance. Prior to Calhoun, Smith spent two seasons at North Murray High School at the strength and condition coach, running game coordinator and offensive line coach. His longest stint as an assistant come with Dalton High School from 2013-2017 where he served in multiple coaching positions with the football team. Smith also spent time at Flowery Branch, Chestatee and Sonoraville high schools.
During his time at Loganville, Smith played for the late Tommy Stringer.
“Coach Stringer had a huge impact. I’m not trying to fill his shoes by any means, but I’m going to bring back a lot of the principles and values I learned from coach Stringer,” Smith said. “Their impact on me will hopefully be passed on to the kids I inherit and we can build off it.”
After graduating from Loganville, Smith went on to be a four-year starter on the offensive line at Shorter University. He was named Mid-South All-Conference in 2008 and academic All-Conference in 2005 and 2008. His teammate right next to him on the offensive line was current Shorter University head coach Zach Morrison.
Smith earned his Bachelor of Business Administration from Shorter in 2008 then headed to the University of Georgia, where he earned his masters degree in workforce education. While at UGA, Smith served as a graduate assistant for the Bulldogs’ football strength and condition program under then strength coach Dave Van Halanger and head coach Mark Richt.
Having been around a number of college coaches during his time at Shorter and UGA, as well as the connections he’s made while coaching at Dalton, North Murray and Calhoun, have helped Smith set up a good network of schools to try and send players to in the future.
“I’ve been blessed to be extremely close to some great coaches at the college level,” Smith said. “Obviously Zach (Morrison) and I are really close. He was the best man in my wedding. He’s definitely somebody I’m going to lean on. But guys like Mitch Doolittle at Wofford…coach Alan Mogridge at South Florida…coach (Bobby) Lamb… so I feel like I’ve been blessed to meet some big time guys in the college ranks. That’s going to be important to me is getting guys to the next level.
Smith is the son of long time Loganville assistant coach BJ Smith. He starts at Loganville in April and will teach weight training.
Smith replaces Mike Humphreys, who was relieved of his duties as head coach last month after five seasons as head coach and 17 total at Loganville. Humphreys was 27-29 as a head coach with the Red Devils including an 8-3 season and trip to the playoffs in 2015 and a 9-3 season and the school first playoff win since 1991 in 2016. However, Loganville struggled under Humphreys the past three seasons finishing 2-8 in 2017, 5-7 in 2018 and 3-8 this past fall.