Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Ex-Panthers tackle new careers

The XFL football player formerly known as "He Hate Me" is now working at West Mecklenburg High.

Rod Smart, who once wore that nickname on the back of his jersey in the now-defunct XFL, played for the Panthers from 2002-05. He and former Panther Dee Brown, who played for Carolina in 2001, are coaching and working at the westside high school.

Smart oversees the behavior management program and assists teachers with behavior-intervention strategies. Brown is West Meck's school climate coordinator. He's responsible for the school's discipline plan and also manages disciplinary programs and monitors truant and tardy students.

“Our background is very similar to the kids here,” Smart said.

Both former Panthers are assistant coaches on the Hawks' football team. Principal Charity Bell said they are also committed to lowering West Meck’s suspension rate, weapons at school and truancy.

“The students will notice them because of their background,” Bell said. "But they will get an opportunity to learn valuable lessons from Mr. Brown and Mr. Smart.”

The former players say they take their new roles very seriously.

“You have to know how to reach the students and relate to them,” said Brown, who is also a former substitute teacher. “We have the chance to affect the lives of nearly 2,000 students.”


- Langston Wertz Jr.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Rod, Dee -- good to have you stay in the community working with young folks. They need strong role models who can be straight-up with them and tell them that success is achieved through a lot of hard work, competition, self discipline, dealing with failure, and working as a team. Your transition from being a pro athlete to being a pro school administrator is also a great example of how you have to be flexible and adaptive during your productive years.

Langston, thanks for writing good positive news. I am hopeful that your illumination of these men in their new careers will encourage other Panthers to do the same.

Donno in Mooresville

Anonymous said...

This is more impressive to me than any of their football exploits...

Anonymous said...

A BREATH OF FRESH AIR!!

Anonymous said...

This really deserves front page, top of the fold exposure. How about it?

Richard said...

I have to agree with the other posters. It's awesome to see these pro athletes give back to our community after their 'big-time' careers come to an end.

There are plenty of kids out there who need the example these guys provide, and I for one am thankful to them for providing it. I see a lot of this in our community from former Panthers players and I really believe that it reflects back on the organization and on the city that guys like Rod and Dee want to stay in Charlotte and give back.

john fox said...

hey rod, in case you havent noticed, we could use a kickoff and punt return man.

Anonymous said...

Glad Rod is staying Home!
http://www.prepnow.org

Rick said...

Rod and Dee are both men of incredible integrity, and both are extremely well-suited to such role-model positions.

Frankly, I am surprised - pleasantly surprised - that both of these gentlemen are still in Charlotte, making such a positive contribution. I had assumed that both were long gone.

Thanks for the update!

Anonymous said...

HOW BOUT DEM COWBOYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!??????

Anonymous said...

Good job guys!!! Pro football is a blast to watch and a great way to rally the community. But at the end of the day, it's still just a game. What you're doing now is leaving a legacy.

Joe Adams said...

Being a graduate from West Mecklenburg I think it is a graet opportunity for the school to have great men like these guys apart of the falculty.Hopefully more of the male students can look at these gentleman and see good role models in them.

endzonefan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
endzonefan said...

Never mind, I just re-read the heading. I am an ijit. :)

Anonymous said...

Okay so if he had shot someone instead of doing good it would be headline news not buried. And people wonder what is wrong with this world.

Jerry said...

I THINK THAT IT IS GREAT HAVING BOTH PLAYERS INVOLVED AT THE HIGH SCHOOL LEVEL. I GRADUATED FROM WEST MECKLENBURG IN 1997 AND WE HAD A FAIR AMOUNT OF MEN WATCHING OVER US. BUT TIMES HAVE CHANGES SINCE THEN; NOW A DAYS KIDS NEED A LITTLE BIT OF EXTRA ENCOURAGEMENT AND INSPIRATION. DEE AND ROD=(WHOM I DELIVERED YOUR FURNITURE FROM ASHLEY FURNITURE. WAY TO GO GUYS. THE COMMUNITY NEEDS YOU

Victor said...

Great job guys from a 1973 graduate. It's great to read something positive for a change.

Anonymous said...

HAHHAHAHA...coach has taught me alot..i prefer to call him Rod..since he has got there, things have changed. I caught 8 passes against Ardrey kell for 194 yards and 155 on mallard creek..He also makes sure i get my grades
right. Perfect man for the job