Joel Smith: Teacher, Coach and Much Admired

Social Studies teacher and head football coach Joel Smith believes that his players are “students be- fore they are athletes.”

“Coach, just motivates us to get better everyday.” said Jayden Casarez (10) about Coach Joel Smith, the new head coach for the football team. Casarez’s views are echoed by nearly everyone on team.By all accounts, Smith has won the hearts and minds of his students and players.

Smith is both a social studies teacher for the mid- dle school and the new coach for our football team. He juggles teaching and coaching, on and off the field. New to our school last year, Smith said that he enjoys working in the small community and all the students he works with now. Although it was difficult being ‘the new kid’, he’s learning how to get his academic du- ties under control, and starting to get the feel for being Head Coach. He touches on our first game on Friday (9/7) and mentions that it was his first time as head coach.

“So far I prefer away games, because Friday was pretty ugly, but theyboth bring different challenges.” Smith admitted.

Smith said “I don’t believe in our D policy here, I’m working on changing that. I think you should have higher than a D if you’re eligible.” He believes that if you are showing up to class and doing your work, receiving a good grade shouldn’t be something you can’t do.

“If you have an F, it’s because you’re too lazy to be doing what you’re supposed to be doing. And you know what you’re supposed to be doing.”

“I’m a teacher. If you go to my class, don’t annoy me, behave according to what you know you’re supposed to behave like, turn in your work, and you participate a little in class, you should have no problem getting a C,” said Smith.

In his off season, Smith does some fundraising to raise as much money as he possibly can in order to better the team. This year he started the team with all new helmets and gear.

“So far this year every kid is in a brand new helmet and  a brand new set of shoulder pads that was bought for them. Giving them things that make them feel comfortable and make them feel appreciated is big and having pride in our school.”

Not only is he helping with the physical attributes, but he’s helping with the emotional appeal on the team.

“He is very team oriented and makes everything about football fun.” said Rowan VonOrtloff (11).

“He’s a lot more positive and he cares about our future, and you can tell that he wants to do a good job as a coach.” said Jacob Hylemon (12).

After asking him where he sees himself in five to ten years, Smith answered with “At Pleasant Hill High School. I really like it here. I love the community, I love the school, and our administration is awesome.”

It’s good to know he likes it here, because we like having him.