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Newborn Nets -- Brandon Smith Joins Franklin County As New Basketball Head Coach

By Ethan Hoffman -- Eagle Editor

Renowned UCLA Basketball Coach, John Wooden, once said, “The difference between a successful coach and a great coach is the ability to inspire and empower their players.” Coaching is the position of a true leader, and the Franklin County High School basketball team now has a brand leader to lead them to into battle this season. Coach Brandon Smith has officially returned to his alma mater to take the reins of the Franklin County High School Basketball program.

Smith is no stranger to what it’s like to be involved in Eagle athletics, being intertwined with Eagles faithful since as far back as the late 90s. During his time in high school, Smith excelled as the primary work-horse running back for the Eagles, something that actually pushed him away from the sport he is now coaching.

“I played 9th and JV basketball here at Franklin County High School. I made the varsity basketball team my junior year and decided not to play but I focused my attention to football where I excelled as a starting running back for FCHS,” Smith stated.

Smith’s knowledge of success at Franklin County is a recipe for success, and the main ingredient for that success is his experience coaching basketball.

Smith started his coaching career in 2004, helping out with the Benjamin Franklin Middle School program for a couple of seasons, before being handed the keys to run the entire thing. He would spend 5 years in that position before jumping up the ladder, becoming the JV team’s head coach from 2009-2013.

After a stint with the Varsity team as an assistant coach, Smith decided it was time for a change of scenery, jumping onto the opportunity to be the head coach for Roanoke Valley Middle School, and boy did that jump pan out. In five seasons with Roanoke Valley, Smith would go a combined 65-5 and win 5 straight district championships.

With this newfound success, Smith found himself with the opportunity to coach for one of the most respected private schools in the region, with the Carlisle Chiefs. Much like his tenure at Roanoke Valley, Smith’s first season with the Chiefs ended in a 24-8 record and a Divison II championship.

Despite a change of scenario being a big obstacle to tackle for any person, Smith does not believe he has had any difficulties in the transition from Carlise to FC. (Photo by Paige Ordway)

Even after being the leader of such a great program, Smith decided that it was time for him to do something that not many are able to do: return to his alma mater and bring their program back to winning ways.

Smith isn’t taking on the easiest job by jumping ships. He is inheriting a team that struggled to finish games late into the season last year, so much so, that even after a 7-1 start to the season, the Eagles would lose 13 out of their last 16 games, ending with a final season record of 10-14.

Smith himself would tell you that the team isn’t where it is supposed to be. “We are not consistent. I noticed that even over the summer. We are not putting all four quarters together. I understand that you might not win every quarter, but that should not dictate how you play defense, take care of the ball, and rebound.”

The plan, however, is not to continue this attitude, and Smith believes that he is seeing improvement. “I do feel our guys are not quitters and they continue to play to the end. We saw an improvement from the first scrimmage to the second one; as a coach you always want to see improvement. “

Over the summer during off-season workouts, the program has seen a complete shift. More emphasis on workouts, skill development, game scenarios, and that is not by accident. Smith sees the vision of a very successful basketball program out of FC, even by just the mid-season mark.

“We have increased the number of out-of-season workouts. We are establishing a weight room program designed for basketball players. We are focusing on skill development. At practice, we are challenging the young men in every aspect of the game of basketball. We have to simulate game situations at practice in order to prepare them for the game … the team will need to be in a place mid-season where we are not making the same mistakes as the beginning of the season.”

The Eagle’s Basketball season is off to a 1-1 start to the season after a win over Bassett and a loss to E.C. Glass. The rest of the FC Basketball season is as follows:

@ E.C Glass (12/13)

@ Cave Spring (12/16)

Vs. Northside (12/19)

@ Staunton River (1/5)

Vs. William Byrd (1/9)

Vs. Halifax County (1/10)

@ Fleming (1/12)

Vs. Lord Botetourt (1/16)

Vs. Cave Spring (1/18)

Vs. Magna Vista (1/20)

@ Northside (1/23)

Vs. Staunton River (1/26)

@ William Byrd (1/30)

@ Halifax County (1/31)

Vs. Fleming (2/2)

@ Patrick Henry (2/5)

@ Lord Botetourt (2/6)

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