Staff assistants a-head of game

By Anthony Rhoads

By the end of his six-year run as head football coach at Forest Park, Bob Smith had had enough.

The stress and frustration of being a head coach began to take its toll and affect his health. After the 2002 season, Smith resigned from the position, citing high blood pressure and heart problems as the main reasons he was leaving.

Smith still wanted to stay in football but without the pressures of being a head coach. Smith found an opening at Eagle's Landing High School and is now offensive coordinator there.

"I feel 1,000 percent better," he said. "It's tough being a football coach no matter where you are, but I feel good."

Smith was head coach at Forest Park from 1996-2002 and for most seasons, the Panthers produced solid, if not spectacular results. The high-water mark was in 2000 when the team finished 7-3 and barely missed making it to the Class AAAAA state tournament. After the season, Smith was named the Southern Crescent High School Football Coach of the Year.

Bob Smith is not the only former head coach on the Eagle's Landing coaching staff. Tom Smith, the former head coach at Riverdale, is the defensive coordinator for the Golden Eagles.

"I think we both want to run our own programs but in some ways I enjoy being an assistant coach better," he said. "I'm in a perfect situation here. I'm so grateful for (head coach) Bob (Stinchcomb). He's a disciplinarian and I work with the players and he deals with the headaches."

Another thing that can make being an assistant more enjoyable is there is more one-on-one contact with the kids.

"We can come here and focus on these kids," Tom Smith said. "I definitely don't miss dealing with the other stuff."

"One thing I don't miss at all is dealing with a kid who is having problems in class or discipline problems," Bob Smith said. "As a head coach, Bob's 24/7 and he deals with it. As a head coach, every day there's something you have to deal with that's not about football."

Stinchcomb is glad to not only have Bob and Tom Smith on his staff but Steve Horton, who was a head coach in Arizona before coming to Eagle's Landing.

"I'm a single parent and there are times I have to be away to take care of my daughter and these coaches bring a lot to the table," Stinchcomb. "The team is in good hands with them. It's been great; they're quality coaches and quality people. Honestly, I don't have to do anything. They have done a great job."

Another head coach who is happy to have a former head coach on his staff is Eagle's Landing Christian's Tim Luke.

Marcus Trivette coached at Forest Park from 1982-85 and his most successful season was in 1983 when the team went 6-4 but fell to LaGrange in the playoffs.

He then went to Morrow and was an assistant there when the Mustangs won the Class AAAA state championship in 1987. Trivette is now defensive coordinator at ELCA.

"He brings instant credibility of 25 years of nothing but success in the high school ranks and a vast knowledge of the game that you rarely see anymore," Eagle's Landing Christian Academy head coach Tim Luke said. "He coaches the game the way it was meant to be coached. He breaks it down and simplifies to where anyone can understand it."

Trivette came to ELCA three years ago and has been an important part of the team's success in the Georgia Independent School Association.

"He's meant the world to our program," Luke said. "I cannot adequately describe how important he is to our program and he's done it as a volunteer assistant He's a marvelous person and it's nice to see how these young men have taken to him. He's a difference maker. I know I would want my son to play for him."

Lovejoy's Al Hughes also has the benefits of having former head coaches on his staff.

Former North Clayton and Fayette County head coach Clint Burton and former Sandy Creek head coach Don Tyre are assistants under Hughes.

"They're very successful in their own right as head coaches and I try to be a sponge to pick up their knowledge," Hughes said. "It's been great for our program; they are two great guys. It's been a great learning experience for me. They already know what to do and I try not to get in their way."

Burton was head coach at North Clayton from 1980-88. His most successful season was in 1986 when the Eagles went 8-3 and qualified for the playoffs.