By Nathan Hutchinson
Register Sports Editor
After a year of watching games from the stands instead of from the sidelines, Chuck Smith decided he was ready to get back into coaching.
And of course, plenty of schools were interested in hiring the former Boyle County head coach and University of Kentucky assistant coach.
But, Smith was looking for just the right opportunity.
“I was contacted about a lot of jobs,” Smith said. “When I looked (at Madison Central), I saw the support in the administration and the potential of the athletes in the school and I just said, ‘This is the place for me.’”
Smith was introduced as the new head football coach at Madison Central on Monday. He replaces Bert Browne, who was fired in November after four seasons.
“We are very excited to have someone like Coach Smith come lead our young men,” Central principal Drew Muntz said. “We had lots of good candidates, but he stood out. His record speaks for itself, but not only that, his character and the integrity he brings and his vision for building the program (was very important).”
Smith has one of the most impressive resumes of any coach in the state.
In 13 seasons at Boyle County, his teams won five state titles (1999-2003) and posted an overall record of 142-33. The Rebels won 47-straight games from 1999 to 2002 — the second-longest streak in state history.
Smith, who was an All-State linebacker at Jeffersontown High School and later played at UK (1978-80), also had success as a head coach at Allen County (1987) and Campbellsville (1988-1991).
He left Boyle County in 2009 to join Rich Brooks’ staff at Kentucky. He spent nine years as an assistant coach (linebackers) and recruiting coordinator at UK under Brooks and Joker Phillips.
At Kentucky, Smith coached several standout linebackers, including current Denver Broncos Wesley Woodyard and Danny Trevathan.
“It was a great experience,” Smith said. “I got to coach in the big stadiums under great coaches in the SEC. I loved every minute of it.”
When Phillips and the entire UK staff was let go after the 2012 season, Smith found himself in an unusual position. For the first time since 1983 he wasn’t on the sidelines coaching.
“I thought it would be good to lay low for a bit,” Smith said. “Now, I’m ready to get back in it. I am very excited.”
And even though he had opportunities to coach at the college level, Smith was interested in going back to his roots.
“I’ve always loved high school football,” Smith said. “It’s what I love to do. The lights on Friday night. The band playing. Families in the stands. Cheerleaders cheering. There’s nothing like it. That fires me up.”
Central won just two games last season and the program has just one playoff victory in the past five years.
Still, the Indians are set to return almost every starter from last year, including a 1,000-yard rusher — Johan Williams.
Smith built Boyle County into a perennial state power and hopes to do the same thing at Central.
He knows that won’t be easy, but he believes all the pieces are in place to make it happen.
“That’s a dream and a wish and a hope,” Smith said. “We are a long ways from that right now. It took me a couple of years to get that foundation laid at Boyle County. I was there for 13 years, but I’m only known for the final six. That’s the intention here.”