At one point Phil Smith had been on his phone for about three hours Tuesday.
“But I’ve enjoyed it,” he said about the whirlwind surrounding his accepting the head football coaching position at Riverside High School. “It’s exciting, and I know what I’m getting into, and I’m just ready to get started.”
Smith, the defensive coordinator at Region 2-AAAA rival Dorman the past six seasons, replaces Steve Eoute, who coached the Warriors to a 13-42 record over the past six years.
Smith, a 1990 Greer High graduate, coached at his alma mater for 12 years, including the last three as defensive coordinator, before heading to Dorman. He played on the 1989 Greer team that won the Class AAA title and coached on the Greer team that won the 2003 AAA title and the Dorman team that won the 2009 Class AAAA Division I title.
“He has an extensive football background with two very successful programs,” Riverside athletic director Murray Long said. “He has a track record of leading two solid defenses. They’re fundamentally sound, and they produce great numbers. He comes highly recommended by some of the best coaches in the state. We’re extremely excited about getting him.
“He brings a wealth of experience, and especially in the region we play in, he has extensive knowledge of a lot of those guys and what they like to do. We thought he had a pretty solid foundation of how he wanted to attack that over here.”
Smith said he’s particularly excited about being a first-time head coach and “the opportunity to call the shots.”
“Going up against Bobby Bentley (at Byrnes), Chris Miller now at Spartanburg High, Dan Jones at Gaffney, Coach (Dave) Gutshall at Dorman, I’ve been there and done that and been successful, winning some of those big games, and I know what I’m getting into from a game perspective,” Smith said.
“The challenge is going to be to get the kids to believe, and with them knowing where I’m coming from and my track record, hopefully they’ll be able to buy in pretty quickly.”