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W.S. Neal taps Smothers for coach vacancy

By By ROBERT BLANKENSHIP – Managing Editor
The search for a new coach to lead the W.S. Neal Blue Eagle football program has officially ended as a six-person committee has approved the hiring of Shane Smothers.
Smothers will take over the Blue Eagle football program and as the school's athletic director after two very successful seasons at McKenzie High School in Butler County. Smothers led McKenzie to the playoffs both years, accumulating a 20-3 record.
According to W.S. Neal principal Phillip Ellis, Smothers fit the search committee's criteria of finding a candidate that made winning a high priority.
Smothers was among 62 people who applied for the W.S. Neal vacancy. The committee narrowed the search down through interviews to eight candidates, then to six, before settling on Smothers.
The search committee was made up of Keith Cooper, Lewis Floyd, Robert Jones, Todd Williams, assistant principal Randall Little and Ellis. Ellis said the committee voted unanimously to hire Smothers.
Ellis said Smothers stood out, not only because of his record on the field, but also his record in the classroom.
Smothers officially started work at W.S. Neal on Tuesday. Ellis said he was busy going through report cards and helping students understand what grades they will need in order to participate in athletics.
Smothers takes over as the head coach of the Blue Eagles after Jim Fountain resigned in January. Fountain served two stints as the Blue Eagle head coach, the latest lasting over the past six seasons.
The Blue Eagles finished last season at 6-4 and missed the playoffs.