Hello PrepsKC Community. My name is Camron Smith and I am the Head Football Coach of Washington High School. I also teach Journalism, and Digital Media, and have a Degree in Communications. It is with great enthusiasm that I enter into this realm and It is my goal to give you an in-depth look at the mind of a high school head football coach. There are so many topics to discuss so let’s get to it!
Ten years ago I was starting my first season as a coach. I was the OL/DL as well as Special Teams Coordinator for the Northwest Tigers, a middle school team in Kansas City, Kan. We finished with a record of 0-5-1.
As I started going through some old yearbooks, I found that it had been quite some time since they’d had a winning season. Over my next two seasons in that position we went a combined 3-8. That was considered a great improvement.
Heading into my fourth year I was hired as the new head coach and I had all of these grandiose ideas of what I was going to do to turn that program around. I was sure that we’d be the best team in the city until we lost the first game 48-6.
We showed up to the final game of the season 0-5, low in numbers, but rich in heart. We won that game 24-6 and it could probably be said that those kids saved my career. The next year that same group of boys won the city, and I saw that coaching was more than X’s and O’s. It was more than talent both on the field and coaching. I found out it was about culture building. Over the next seven years we built a culture at Northwest that continues today. We won four league titles and had three straight undefeated seasons.
Now you might be thinking, “What does that origin story have to do with High School Football?” To which I’d reply, “Nothing.” As a high school head coach, you find out absolutely nothing you’ve done in the past matters. It doesn’t matter what you accomplished last week let alone last season or at your last school. That said you have to keep a non-removable chip on your shoulder, because the minute you feel you’ve done something you will get knocked down to nothingness.
Take our season last year. Washington had its first winning season in six years which also gave us our first league title in six years. We had three HyVee player of the week awards, a Kansas City Chiefs High School Coach of the week award, and a No. 3 seed in the KSHSAA 5A Eastern Bracket. After the season we’d secure several first team all-league awards, the KCAL DPOTY, OPOTY, Coach of the year, and league MVP awards.
None of that meant anything to Blue Valley Southwest, who came to our house and escorted us out of the post season to the tune of 31-6 lashing. They were focused on what they were there to do, not what we had done.
My first season as a high school head taught me lessons, I could never learn anywhere else. Chief amongst them all though would have to be, never stop doing, because once you’ve done everything you can……. YOU’RE DONE!