Former Cordova assistant Woody Smothers was officially named the school’s head coach at the Walker County Board of Education meeting on Thursday.
“Cordova has a special place in my heart. I couldn’t turn down this opportunity,” said Smothers, who served as the Blue Devils’ offensive coordinator from 2004-07. “The kids at Cordova play so hard. They play for more than just themselves. They play for the community. This is just a special place. I’m glad to be part of it.
“I interviewed Monday night and got a good indication that they wanted me. Until you’ve been there and coached there, people don’t understand. Cordova’s a different place in a good way. It’s a special place to be the football coach.”
Smothers takes over for former coach Pete Bush, who stepped down from his post last month after three years and a 34-8 record. The Blue Devils also made two state championship games under Bush and were 9-3 in the postseason. The 2010 team finished 10-2, losing in the second round to defending state champ Piedmont.
Smothers, 40, first came to Cordova with former head coach Scott Basden in 2004. That first team was 3-7. After that, the Blue Devils finished 10-2 and 9-3 before winning the Class 3A state championship with a perfect 15-0 mark.
The 2007 team, led by players like Tim Simon and Ryan Smith, scored a school record 664 points, an average of 44.2 points per game. The 664 points ranks as the third highest team total in Class 3A history.
“We went through it all. We started low and finished high. I built some lasting friendships, and the kids who played for me still keep in touch,” Smothers said. “There is nothing extravagant about Cordova football. There’s no secret to the success. They just work hard and play hard.
“The kids at Cordova put it on the line for you. That’s what interested me in going back. I feel I’m ready to be a head coach. I felt like I have enough experience. I’m ready to take it on.”
Smothers has been an assistant coach since the 1996 season. He was the offensive coordinator — under Basden — for each of the last three years. He has been an assistant at Cold Springs, Austin and Walker. He also served as the Mount Hope head coach in 1995, going 2-7.
“I’ve been through programs where we’ve had to start and rebuild. I’ve been through programs that were successful. I’ve been through all aspects of it,” Smothers said.
Cordova loses two All-State players and 12 seniors off last year’s squad. Junior running back Cody Staten, who rushed for more than 2,000 yards and 28 touchdowns last year, will be back for his senior season.
“Coach Bush left the program in excellent shape. They went to two championship games and won 10 games last year. You can’t ask for much better than that,” Smothers said.
Smothers is a 1989 Addison High School graduate as well as a 1994 UNA graduate.
He said taking over at Cordova is like coming home.
“I’m excited about it and my wife is excited about it. She’s from Sipsey. We’ll be closer to her parents and my parents. The good Lord has a way of arranging those things,” said Smothers, who plans to meet with his new squad soon.
Cordova was one of two Walker County Schools looking for a football coach. Dora has been without a head coach since former coach Martin Glover was fired in November.