The first-year Bowdon High School boy’s basketball coach has been playing catch-up ever since accepting the Red Devil job late in the summer. Along with moving from the state of Washington and readjusting to life back in the Peach State — Smith is a Callaway High School graduate and LaGrange product — the new Bowdon hoops head man is also just getting his football guys on the court heading toward Friday night’s season opener at Haralson County.
“Well, you know, we’re actually still trying to get caught up. We’re still in the gelling process. We’re still trying to hammer out some of the kinks. But it’s a process. Hopefully, we’ll be ready for that region run in January and February,” Smith said.
Smith took over the Red Devil program after former coach Vic Coggins’ departure to take an administrative role at Villa Rica High School left a vacancy on the Bowdon sidelines.
On the court, the Red Devils also lost six seniors to graduation, including one of their key pieces in point guard and four-year starter J.B. Stephens. But Smith will lean on a strong junior class that includes Marcus Thurman and Chris Keith, along with senior center Logan Reeves, and some underclassmen that will have to step up and play key varsity minutes this year.
And while Smith would have liked to get a full summer of workouts with his new squad, he said it is what it is and the team is working hard toward a successful campaign in 2012-13.
“It’s going. We’re excited about the new year, and hopefully we’ll be competitive and things will go in a positive manner for us,” Smith said. “I like the team. We have a lot of talent. It’s just about us meshing and making sure we’re executing on offense as well as defense. It’s a process.”
The Red Devils move up to Class AA this fall and into Region 5-AA with local foes Temple, Heard County and Bremen. The other sub-region consists of Chattahoochee County, Manchester, Kendrick, Jordan and Spencer.
Of course, Jordan and Manchester both reached the Class AA final four last season, and the Red Devils will be fighting with several other contenders for one of the four coveted state playoff spots.
Smith expects a competitive region race this winter and is hopeful his team will be one of the last four standing when all is said and done.
“As a coach, I’ve been doing my research. I know there are a couple of teams that are going to be real competitive. Really, all the schools are going to be competitive. And, hopefully, we’ll be one of those teams,” Smith said.
As for Friday’s season opener and the start of a new era at Bowdon, it’s one that Smith feels is building a bigger buzz the closer it gets to tip-off.
“I’m expecting a hot, up-tempo atmosphere. I know the crowd’s going to be involved. Haralson County’s a real good team and they’re going to bring their ‘A’ hat. So hopefully we’re up and ready to go,” Smith said.