TSSAA selects Hampton’s Smith as Coach of the Year

Published 11:08 am Thursday, November 15, 2018

Since his start in coaching more than 18 years ago, Hampton head coach Ned Smith has learned many things.
One of those things is that every team is different.
“You have to adapt,” said Smith. “You have to know how to motivate them. You have to know how to get along with kids and know how to get them to come out and play.”
At 350 wins as a high school coach, Smith has definitely figured out a way to get kids to play for him. And this month, the TSSAA recognized Smith for his efforts and successes as the organization selected him as the Athletic District-1 Coach of the Year.
“There have been many great coaches win this award before me, and this is just a big honor,” said Smith.
Smith has been the head coach at Hampton for roughly eight years now after doing an eight-year head coaching stint at Cloudland High School. Over the past eight seasons, the Hampton Bulldogs have won three state tournament game, four state sectional games, five region championships, and four district championship.
Smith said that a big part of a team’s success comes with a good supporting cast of assistant coaches.
“Good assistant coaches are a major thing and a must,” said Smith. “At Cloudland, I had Gary Harrison and Brandon Carpenter. They were a tremendous help at Cloudland. Down here at Hampton, we have great coaches like Mike Matheson and Dwayne Humphrey, who has also done a great job at the elementary level. We also have Wesley Murray at the high school level now, and he is doing a great job.
“I have also had a lot of great players that have gone on to play college ball,” added Smith.
Before he was ever a head coach, Smith was a student-athlete at Hampton before going on to play ball for Milligan College. Smith landed his first head coaching position at Keenburg Elementary before moving on to the high school level. Smith got his start in high school ball as an assistant and junior varsity coach at Cloudland under Highlander head coach Randy Birchfield.
“He was a great mentor to me, and I am very appreciative that he let me get my foot in the door,” said Smith about Birchfield.
There have been many good basketball teams make their way through Carter County, and Smith said a big part of that can be attributed to the great community involvement at local schools such as Hampton and Cloudland.
“In these small communities, people really come out and support the players,” said Smith. “I just think it great that these teams have such a good fan base. They just get a lot of support from the schools and the community, and that is what makes the kids want to come out and work hard.”

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox