Smothers says no to football job at Muscle Shoals
By By BRUCE HIXON Sports Editor
Shane Smothers was aware of the head coach vacancy in the Muscle Shoals High School football program when it became open back in December.
At that time, Smothers did not pursue the position. He was and still is content with his current position as head coach of the W.S. Neal Blue Eagles.
"There hasn't been a day since I arrived at W.S. Neal that I haven't been the head football coach and I'm still the head football coach," Smothers said.
Smothers was one of three finalists for the Muscle Shoals head job along with Mary Montgomery coach Scott Lesley and former LSU and Southern Mississippi head coach Curley Hallman.
Although Muscle Shoals officially announced Hallman as its head coach Monday, Smothers was offered another chance to join the school's football program as assistant head coach under Hallman. It was an offer he turned down.
"It's an honor they wanted me to come to their school. It (Muscle Shoals) was a great offer, but I want to stay at W.S. Neal as the head coach," Smothers said.
Smothers said his name went into consideration for the Muscle Shoals job through Muscle Shoals superintendent Jeff Wooten.
"He was principal at Russellville High School when I was there and I had a good working relationship with him. I didn't realize before all this started to develop he had become superintendent at Muscle Shoals," Smothers said. "When he contacted me about the job, I felt I owed him the courtesy to listen to what their school had to offer. The next thing I know I find out I'm among the three finalists for the position."
When Smothers said no to Muscle Shoals, he said no to some personal temptations.
Muscle Shoals is a Class 5A school, while W.S. Neal is Class 3A. Both Smothers and wife Amy went to high school at Curry High School, which is near Jasper, about 75 miles away. Both still have family in that region.
"It would have been great to be near our families again, but it's just not right at this time," Smothers said.
Smothers' immediate family, (wife Amy and sons Luke, Landon and Logan) have moved around frequently.
"Amy and I have talked about that. Our oldest boy, Luke, is nine years old and he has lived in seven homes. Luke and Landon are in school now and it's tough for them to keep changing schools and making new friends. We'd like to get some stability going," Smothers said.
Which brings Smothers back to his current position at W.S. Neal.
"I met with my players Tuesday to clear things up. The kids have heard all kinds of things. You read things in newspapers or see rumors on the internet or hear talk around town. They don't know what to believe," Smothers.
Smothers, who also coaches softball and track at W.S. Neal along with athletic director duties, is ready to move forward with the Blue Eagles.
"My staff and I are committed to doing whatever it takes to help this program win a state title. Even while all this (Muscle Shoals discussion) was going on, I never stopped working the kids at W.S. Neal any less," Smothers said.