Sunday, January 25, 2009

Concord's E.Z. Smith resigns after 29 seasons

E.Z. Smith, the fabric of Concord High football for 29 seasons, resigned as coach Saturday.

Smith, 55, began in 1980 at the school where he played football. He coached state championship teams in 2004 and 2006, and had a 254-100-1 record. More importantly, Smith said, he was able to leave on his terms.

“I began thinking about it after the 2006 season, but decided to take it one year at a time,” he said. “I want to teach next school year to get my 30 years, and be eligible for retirement. But I didn’t want a farewell tour. I wanted to do what’s best for the entire school and football program. It’s time for new leadership. We’re headed into a new conference, with realignment. The kids need someone to re-excite them.”

Smith made his announcement at a football banquet Saturday night. He said he plans to spend more time with his family – his wife Pat is a principal, his mother lives in Concord and his daughter is a teacher in Charlotte.

Smith, who said “I’ll always be a Spider,” coached several second-generation players, and grandchildren of men he played against. He coached his son E.Z. IV (called “Z”), an all-state lineman, and watched his daughter Audrey Lee star at basketball at Concord.

“I don’t know many men who get to live their dream, but I have,” Smith said. “It’s like I told the kids, on your tombstone they have the start date and the end date. But the key is that dash in between, the time you build relationships and have opportunities to help mold young people. The greatest job in the world is being a teacher. You get to help 13- and 14-year-old boys and girls develop into 17- and 18-year-old men and women, grow and give back to the community.”

“The greatest compliment is when a father or mother entrusts you to help raise their child as a football player, cheerleader or student.”

Concord rallied from a 0-3 start to win 13 straight games and the N.C. 3A championship in 2006. Last season, the Spiders were 3-7, just the second losing season in Smith’s tenure.

Smith said he won’t have a voice in determining his replacement, instead letting principal Carla Black and athletics director George Walker decide. He said he hasn’t ruled out a return to coaching, perhaps on the college level, but when he’s finished teaching he wants to work on his golf game, take a vacation and have quality time with his family.

“Change is good, because growth takes place,” Smith said. “I’m going to be the best cheerleader for Concord that I can be, and support them every way I can. I hope what I’ll leave behind – and the wins and losses come and go – will be the relationships developed at the school. I loved the kids, and outside of my family and church, gave every fleeting moment to that high school.”

-- Cliff Mehrtens

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Finally wised up but he def didnt want to get humiliated and dogged in some new weakling 8 school all county conf. Getting whipped so bad by MP & KT last yr too much. KT def poised to dominate the new league & obliterate all fluff opposition. It wont even be close.
The once grande 90 year football program in big trouble & in shambles for yrs to come.
Back to the 70s ...

He needs to take over WC or Vance but thats prob the plan..

Anonymous said...

THANK GOODNESS HE IS GONE

Anonymous said...

A lot of fans at AL Brown felt sorry for him last year after that 50 pt thrashing but we had no idea he'd cut and run and we even held back the score.
No doubt he would have been embarrassed in '09 mainly by the Wonders. Sometimes you have to cut your losses and move on.
Throwin in the towel and being a quitter is still disgraceful. This all county conference sux anyway and will be way too ez for us.

Spider4Life said...

Cutting and running? Throwing in the towel and being a quitter? Have you ever thought that EZ was actually thining of the program by saying "I am not making it happen any more..the team deserves better"? That is not a quitter in my book. That is someone who is looking out for the program that he has loved, played in, and coached for many years.
The program is going to take some time to rebuild and it starts at the pee-wee, pop warner, middle school levels. Ktown has maintained a great program no doubt but if your coach had a season like last year, had been there "forever" and decided to step down would you be calling him a "disgraceful quitter" or someone who was doing what they felt right for the program?

Spider4Life said...

But you guys are right in one point: Getting your butt kicked by Mt. Pleasant (no offense to that program that has come so far over the years) and getting that embarrassment from Ktown in that 50 point loss will be long in the minds of the CHS faithful and well, is UNEXUSABLE.

At least with the new county conference you will all save on gas getting to games.

Edit Note: That was suppose to be "think" not "thin" ..ha ha One of those freudian slips I guess.

Spider4Life but Typer He's Not.. said...

EXCUSE not EXUSE...geez...tell I gradumacated from Concord...GEEZ

Anonymous said...

Give the guy credit, he committed himself to helping kids for many years. He hAS WON HIS SHARE AND SHOULD BE PRAISED.

Anonymous said...

CHS was always one of those unique schools despised by its opponents yet secretly admired for its uncompromised consistency in winning as one of NCs clean top elite programs who could never win the big one until lately ironically proving that sometimes you are better off winning 80% of your games making it yearly to the quarter finals as opposed to winning the whole thing.

The bitter sweet irony is that always barely missing the mark was the good medicene that kept the program so robust alive and hungry for so long.

Technically the reorganization into big and small playoffs gave CHS the opportunity to win 2 titles. Had this not occured the school may not have any titles but still been an 80% winner always at the edge keeping the hunger alive.

Once you've won it all theres nothing left except repeat. There are a few rare programs who can win the big ones and never slump but CHS is not one of them. The goal was met twice although only after playoff changes. Back to the drawing board. Rebuild not reload...

The #1 goal is motivation and most all too stay hungry.

Anonymous said...

come on. he could have done his school a favor if he loved it that much and stayed one more year for an even 30 and then cut out but he knew he could go 0-10. ok, he may beat the new school off 73 but no qb or rbs or def. rsmith is gone. spider fans highly question his judgement. is he thinking of himself or us?

Anonymous said...

Anyone think Marty Paxton of Hickory Ridge takes this job? He went to Concord and has strong ties with Coach Smith.