Smith returns as Polytech’s head football coach

WOODSIDE — For as long as Kevin Smith can remember, he’s been part of a football team.

Polytech football coach Kevin Smith by .

“I just wanted to get back into it and the opportunity presented itself,” said Kevin Smith. “Polytech has been very good to me. They took a chance on me when no one really knew me. Loyalty goes a long way with me. … I feel like I still have some years left in me.” (Delaware State News file photo)

So being away from the game last fall was especially difficult for the former Polytech High head coach.

“Those Friday nights were tough,” said the 38-year-old Smith.

When the opportunity arose last month for Smith to get back on the sidelines, he jumped at it.

Smith was rehired as Polytech’s football coach just before the start of the Christmas break. The Panthers went 0-10 under first-year coach Stanley Burris in 2015.

As head coach in the two previous seasons, Smith led the Panthers to a record of 9-11.

The reason Smith stepped down as coach last spring was so he could step into the athletic director’s position. The school has a policy against its AD also coaching.

For the time being, Smith will work in both roles. He said he’d like to continue to be both AD and coach but that will be up to Polytech officials to decide.

Smith said he wasn’t directly involved in Burris not returning as coach.

“I just wanted to get back into it and the opportunity presented itself,” said Smith, who previously was a head coach in Virginia. “Polytech has been very good to me. They took a chance on me when no one really knew me. Loyalty goes a long way with me. … I feel like I still have some years left in me.”

Smith has already met with Polytech’s players. The Panthers started their off-season weight-lifting program on Monday.

Last season was pretty difficult for Polytech. Along with going 0-10, the Panthers were outscored by a combined 482-78.

Polytech was 3-17 in the two seasons before Smith arrived.

But Smith said he believes there’s still the makings of a good football program at Polytech.

“They just need to start believing again, that’s all,” he said. “It was a tough year this year. I just want to make sure the kids are excited about playing.”

The Panthers are slated to face the same nonconference schedule in 2016. Along with its six Henlopen Conference Conference Northern Division games, Polytech will take on Appoquinimink, Woodbridge, Delcastle and Delaware Military.

Smith said many of his players are new to him. He joked that the freshmen don’t even know who he is.

“They’re excited, they’re ready to get going,” Smith said about the players. “They were asking me questions around school all the time because I guess word was leaking out. I’m excited to get back on the sidelines.”

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