Smothers gets ready for football
By BY LYDIA GRIMES, Feature Writer
It's almost that time of the year. School is back in session and everyone is gearing up for the first high school football game of the season. W.S. Neal High School is all excited because they will be starting the new season with a brand new coach.
Shane Smothers comes from McKenzie High School in Butler County where he led the team to two very successful seasons. They went to the playoffs both years he was the athletic director there and accumulated a 20-3 record. He was one of 62 people who applied for the position of athletic director of W.S. Neal High School. A search committee of six people decided that Smothers was the right one for the job, not only for his winning record, but for his emphasis on academics as well.
Smothers took over the program at Neal this past April and has been preparing for the upcoming season ever since. He is excited about getting off to a good start and trying to bring the team up from a 6-4 season last year.
Smothers has always had sports on his mind. He grew up participating in baseball, football, basketball and track.
He was born in Walker County and raised in the small town of Curry. He was the middle son of three who were raised by his father after a divorce early in his life. His father was always busy providing for the family and Smothers spent a lot of time with his younger brother.
Smothers was very close to his dad. His mother was always there for him but he didn't spend a lot of time with her.
After graduation from Curry High School in 1992, he went to the University of North Alabama in Florence on a football scholarship.
Smothers was the quarterback at UNA and was part of a team that won two national championships in Division II in 1992-1994.
He married after the first year of college to a hometown girl from Curry.
In 1994 during the week of the championship, his first son, Luke, was born. He left college and two years of eligibility to go home to go to work. He got a job at a trailer plant and later moved to an Even-Flo plant making car seats. That job had a bonus of giving him tuition to go back to college. He was also doing some volunteer coaching at his old high school in Curry. He entered Bevill State College and attended until the fall of 1996. In 1996 he began attending Athens State College which was 90 miles away. At the same time he was also working at a WalMart distribution center in Cullman which was 45 miles away. When he was not working and going to college he helped coach at Cullman High School with his former coach.
He graduated from Athens in 1998 with a degree in physical education. By that time he and his wife, Amy, had another son, Landon. He made quite a photograph at graduation with a son in each arm.
After graduation he took a job at Parrish High School but after a year he went back to Curry to coach at the school there. He left there after a year and took a job as assistant coach at Russellville High School. They went to the semi-finals that year and he and his wife added another son, Logan, to their family.
Smothers was very surprised to find that McKenzie High School did want him and offered him the job the very next morning after his interview.
Smothers spent two years at McKenzie. He went there to find a team that had had a very bad record for the previous four years.
The first year they went 9-1 and the second year 10-0. They made the playoffs both years he was there with a record of 21-3.
His work got him noticed and he interviewed at Andalusia but that job did not pan out. That is when he received his first letter from Phillip Ellis at W.S. Neal. He sent in a resume and received another letter from Ellis along with an application. He hesitated about sending in the application although he did fill it out and Ellis telephoned him about the job. He decided to come for an interview and the rest, as they say, is history.
He is very excited about being in this area and having the opportunity to coach at Neal.