Darren Doyle, story and photos:
Edmonson County High School head football coach Nathan Smith has officially stepped down from the role as of today.
Coach Smith made the announcement first with players and school administration this afternoon. Smith said it was a family decision and it's now time for someone else to take over after his 5 years at the head of the program.
"I entered the ECHS football program 17 years ago as a freshman and have never spent a season away from this program," he said. "It's been one of the biggest blessings in my life and some of my fondest memories have come from ECHS football; however, at this time I feel that it's in the best interest of me and my family that I step away from the program that I love. A lot of other things in my life have been neglected because of the time and passion that football requires. It's time to pass the reigns to some one else for a while."
Smith said he wanted to share his thanks with everyone that has contributed to his life of football over the years.
"All of the players that I have had the privilege of coaching have shaped the person that I have become and I can't express how much they have meant to me. The men who have coached with me have been great and are some of my best friends. We have a great and supportive community who have always helped us and a group of parents that have gone above and beyond to provide for our football program. I want to thank my family for supporting me for all these years and for the sacrifices they have made to help me and the football team. Lastly I want to thank Kyle Pierce who has been so influential to me over the past 17 years. He has been a true coach, friend, and mentor to me along the way."
Smith was named head coach on January 15, 2016. During his 5 seasons as head coach, Edmonson County had an overall record of 24-29 and won the Class 2A District 3 Championship in 2019. He was also named KFCA District 3 Coach of the Year for the 2020 season.
Athletic Director Kyle Pierce said Smith has been contributing to Edmonson County football every since he was a player.
"Coach Smith has been a tremendous asset to our football program since he walked into the fieldhouse in 2004 as a player," Pierce said. "He began working with our coaching staff immediately following his senior season and we've been extremely fortunate to have him working with our student-athletes for the past 13 years."
Pierce said the search for Smiths' replacement will begin immediately and that there is already a short list of candidates the school would like to consider.
"There are some quality people out there that have head coaching experience and a few solid assistant coaches that we would want to sit down and talk with," he said.
"At the end of it, you want a person who will be a good fit with our football team, our school system, and our community. If any of those are missing, it's usually an uphill battle."
Smith said while he's stepping down from the responsibilities of coach, there's no way he could ever fully walk away from Wildcat football.
"I plan on being at every football game in the future and will always support this program and our players in any way that I can. Once you get ECHS football in your blood it doesn't really ever leave. Go Cats!" he added.