Smothers leaving WSN
By By BRUCE HIXON Sports Editor
W.S. Neal High School is in search of a head football coach after Blue Eagles skipper Shane Smothers was hired as the head coach at Walker High School Monday.
Smothers spent two years with the Blue Eagles and compiled a 14-9 record with the program. W.S. Neal posted a 10-3 record and advanced to the Class 3A quarterfinals during Smothers first year with the program. The Blue Eagles dropped to 4-6 this past season and missed the postseason field.
Prior to his arrival at W.S. Neal, Smothers spent two seasons at McKenzie High School where he compiled a 21-3 record.
An opportunity to get much closer to family was one of the main reasons Smothers took the job. Smothers and wife Amy are both from nearby Curry.
Smothers said his name had been falsely linked to several job openings across the state almost since the day he arrived in East Brewton although he was a finalist for the head coaching position at Muscle Shoals High School a year ago.
Walker is a 5A school located in the Jasper area. Smothers takes over a Vikings program that went 5-6 last year. Walker was knocked out in the opening round of the state playoffs by Oxford.
Smothers said it is a bit ironic that Walker would hire them.
While disappointed to see Smothers leave, W.S. Neal principal Phil Ellis said he appreciated what Smothers brought to his school.
Smothers' departure not only puts W.S. Neal in search of a head football coach, but also a track coach and athletic director.
Ellis indicated Buck Quarles, who is already an assistant coach with the boys and girls track teams, will take over that program at least on an interim basis. Ellis also said all athletic director work will be handled by school office personnel until a replacement is hired.
The search for Smothers' replacement is already underway. Applications will be accepted through March 17. Ellis then hopes with the aid of a seven-member search committee to have a replacement named within two to three weeks after the application deadline.
Smothers is expected to start work at Walker within a few days. His last day at W.S. Neal was Monday.