Former Lynn coach Philip Smith joins football staff at Curry
by W. Brian Hale
Jul 04, 2014 | 3952 views | 0 0 comments | 49 49 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Former Lynn head football coach Philip Smith is the new offensive coordinator at Curry High School under head coach Russell Funk. Smith served as the Bears’ head coach for nine years. Photo by Jason Clark
Former Lynn head football coach Philip Smith is the new offensive coordinator at Curry High School under head coach Russell Funk. Smith served as the Bears’ head coach for nine years. Photo by Jason Clark
New Curry football coach Russell Funk added a veteran assistant with head coaching experience to his staff this week with the hiring of Philip Smith.

Smith, the winningest coach at his alma mater, Lynn, concluded his career with the Bears with a 67-35 record. In nine seasons, he secured a region championship, produced 11 all-state or honorable mention players, helped guide the program to seven playoff appearances as well as a short stint as Class 1A’s top-ranked in 2011.

Announcing his resignation from the Lynn post shortly after the 2012 season, Smith wanted a break from Friday night football and to have more time to spend with his family. As he quickly found out, the lure of the sidelines and the excitement of the game atmosphere grew unsettling.

“I thought that I was making the right decision at the time, but when it came time for football season, it got tough for me to attend games. I definitely missed it,” Smith said. “I wanted to be back on the sidelines, back working with kids in the game I love. When the opportunity presented itself to join the staff at Curry, I knew I was ready.”

Smith, who will be Curry’s offensive coordinator, and his new head coach, Funk, have shared a long friendship as well as a rivalry when their programs clashed in several high-profile meeting between Lynn and Funk’s Marion County Red Raiders. The chance to work on the same staff as Funk made the decision for Smith much easier.

“I’ve known coach Funk for a very long time and have always been impressed with the success he’s had. He’s done well everywhere he’s coach, so to have the opportunity to work with him is one I couldn’t miss,” Smith said. “We’ve got a challenge at Curry, but I’ve always enjoyed a good challenge and I believe that the opportunity here is fabulous. We’ve got the chance to turn things around and win some ball games.”

The shift from Class 1A to 4A football will be new territory for Smith, but comes with benefits not enjoyed at smaller schools. The prospect of coaching players who are not required to play both offense and defense is an aspect that Smith looks forward to — allowing him the opportunity to work more exclusively with his offensive unit.

“I’ve always believed that football is football. It all comes down to X’s and O’s no matter what classification you’re in, but being at a larger school provides new opportunities,” Smith said. “There will be games when a short talk with your quarterback or offensive line could be what helps momentum and the flow of the game moving in the right direction. That’s a benefit I’m looking forward to be able to experience. I’ve already seen that there are some really good kids at Curry and I feel they’re eager to work and learn the game.”

Smith has also enjoyed working with coach Sam McCorkle, who joined Funk’s staff this summer. Together with Funk, Smith feels the trio of veteran, established coaches can help build Curry into a winner. McCorkle served as the head coach at Parrish High School last season.

“I’ve enjoyed my time getting to know coach McCorkle. He’s a quality person with an outstanding football mind. He, coach Funk and I were sitting around discussing our careers and between the three of us, we’ve got over 250 wins on the staff. It’s a group of guys who have been around football for a very long time, and I feel that the kind of experience that the three of us bring will reap benefits,” Smith said. “All around, I feel that coach Funk has put together a great staff and I feel that I will learn a lot from both of those guys. It’s going to be a great atmosphere to help mold success in.”