FORT MILL — Nation Ford head girls’ basketball coach Mike Smith has stepped down after two years at the school.
Smith, who also works in real estate for Allen Tate, was 20-27 in the two seasons with the Lady Falcons. Smith resigned last Friday, which came as a shock to Nation Ford Athletic Director Brian Turner.
“I wasn’t expecting it at all,” Turner said.
Smith said he felt like he couldn’t do right by both careers at the same time and because he was the only girls’ basketball coach in Region III who wasn’t working full time at the school he coached for, he said he needed to concentrate on making a living.
“I owe it to my family to being successful (in real estate),” he said. “I was enjoying it (coaching), but I can’t do that and run a business at the same time.”
Smith said he will miss being on the sidelines, but plans to help other athletics areas with the school when he can.
“Nation Ford is on the rise and they are going to be a fun team to watch,” he said.
Smith came to Nation Ford after serving mostly as an assistant at Presbyterian College for 10 years, where he has helped coach both the men’s and women’s programs. Smith helped with the men’s team from 2002-2004 and then switched sidelines, helping with the women’s program from 2004-2007 and again from 2009-2012. He also coached women’s lacrosse for Presbyterian College during the 2007-2008 season.
He also served as senior associate athletic director for the school for five years, helping it transition from a Division II to Division I college.
Smith graduated from Presbyterian College in 1982 and has a master’s degree from Webster University. He was a four-year letterman for the Blue Hose on the basketball court. Smith also is retired from the U.S. Army having served more than 23 years.
Turner said NaFo has already opened the search for a new girls’ basketball coach and hopes to have the job filled by spring break in April at the latest.
“We wanted to get it out there and look at the candidates,” he said. “We are going to try to find the best possible teacher and best possible coach.”