NEW CUMBERLAND - Dave Smith will be roaming the area in front of the Oak Glen basketball team bench again when the 2012-13 season rolls around next December. The Hancock County Board of Education last week gave its stamp of approval to the appointment.
Smith, 43, was the head coach of the Golden Bears for nine years, but had to relinquish the coaching duties when he earned his educational leadership degree in 2003 and went from the classroom to the administrative ranks in the Hancock County School system.
"I really appreciate the opportunity to coach that the current board of education is giving to me," Smith said. "I believe it shows how progressive our board is that they made the decision to allow administrators to coach. I have a love for coaching.
Smith, who currently serves as the head junior varsity baseball coach, replaces Vince Gilliam. who took over the Oak Glen program in 2004 when Smith stepped down.
Smith, who has two sons following in his footsteps as Oak Glen athletes, graduated from Oak Glen High School in 1987.
He was an outstanding baseball player for the Golden Bears and went on to play four years of baseball at Fairmont State College, receiving his degree in special education in December 1991. He began his teaching career in 1992 at Allison Elementary School in Chester. After serving there for two- and-a-half years, he transferred to Oak Glen where he taught learning disabilities in the special education program.
"Teaching is my first love," Smith said. "It was a difficult decision to leave the classroom and become an administrator and especially because the special education program is so rewarding to me."
In 2004, Smith was named assistant principal at Weir Middle School and in 2006 moved to the same position at Oak Glen Middle School where he currently serves.
Smith grew up in Newell, living on Grant Street. Because of that street's proximity to Clarke Field and the Newell football stadium, Smith easily was able to hone his athletic skills.
In his first three years as the head basketball coach at Oak Glen, Smith's teams won six games, but in the final six years his teams won 76 games, giving him an overall record of 82-122.
He ended that first coaching stint with a team that posted a 22-0 record, losing in the state quarterfinals to Westside.
Smith and his wife, LaDonna, live in the Hillcrest Farms area near Oak Glen High School. They have three sons, Trey, a senior at Oak Glen, Brennan, a freshman, and Shawn, 11.
Smith met last weekend with the Oak Glen basketball boosters and began preparations for the off-season basketball training program this summer.