Smith fulfills his goal of working at Cape

Kevin Smith spent seven years at Polytech as both head football coach and athletic director at different times. Special to the Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh

LEWES — If things had worked out a little differently, Kevin Smith would have been at Cape Henlopen High all along.

In 2013, when Smith was first looking to move to Delaware, former Cape football coach Bill Collick offered Smith a job on his staff.

But the former Towson quarterback ended up at Polytech as the Panthers’ head football coach instead.

Smith, though, never lost his interest in working at Cape Henlopen.

Now the 43-year-old has landed in Lewes after all, beginning his new job this month as Cape’s athletic director. He replaces Bob Cilento, who retired after 14 years as the Vikings’ AD.

Smith and his family have lived in Milton since they came to Delaware. His wife, Hope, teaches in Cape’s Shields Elementary School while their two kids, ages 10 and seven, both go to school there.

“It’s definitely been a goal of mine,” said Smith. “With my wife in the district, teaching, and my kids in the district and my lifelong dream to be an AD, the stars aligned. It worked out well. I’m very excited to be at Cape.”

Smith was athletic director for part of his tenure at Polytech as well as the AD at Sussex Central last school year.

Before that, he was the head football coach at Woodbridge (Va.). He went 17-33 in five football seasons at Polytech, including a 6-4 campaign in 2017.

During his 19-year career in high school athletics, Smith has been involved in a variety of sports. He thinks his background will suit him well in his new job.

“I’ve always liked to be around all the sports,” he said. “In my career, I’ve been fortunate enough to coach various sports. In some capacity I’ve coached softball, I’ve coached baseball, I’ve coached football, boys’ basketball, girls’ basketball … I’ve been around a lot of sports.”

Cape Henlopen has dominated in both girls’ lacrosse (11 state titles) and Division I field hockey (8 state titles) in the last 14 years. The Vikings are also a perennial state championship contender in boys’ lacrosse with three state crowns in that stretch.

Smith was the Panthers’ football coach for five seasons, finishing with a record of 17-33.

With that kind of success, Smith knows a lot of his job will be to just keep Cape pointed in the right direction.

“As successful as Cape is across the board, I’m very lucky,” he said. “As Mr. Cilento told me, ask them what they need and then get out of the way. I have no problem doing that.

“There are very, very experienced and very good coaches at Cape. I’m very lucky to walk in with a very experienced coaching staff across the board.”

Of course, this is a pretty strange time for anybody involved in high school athletics.

The spring sports season was wiped out by the coronavirus pandemic while the fall season is still very much up in th air. Gov. John Carney is expected to announce the status of the state’s schools next week, which will then open the door for sports administrators to finalize their plans.

While Smith has been working largely from home, he is able to get into his office about once or twice a week. Even for experienced coaches and administrators, these are unprecedented times.

“Trying to learn a whole new district and a whole new way of doing things is pretty tough right now,” he said. “I feel for some of the new ADs that are out there, especially if you’re at a brand-new school district, under these circumstances. It’s something else, I tell you.

“Even though fall sports are in limbo right now, I still know the process of ordering for the fall, making sure physicals are done, lining up tryouts. … I’m very familiar with that stuff so it definitely helps.”