XENIA —Trace Smitherman resigned as Xenia High School football coach earlier this week.
He just completed his fourth season coaching the Buccaneers, ending with a 20-21 record that included division titles in the Greater Western Ohio Conference and the Miami Valley League, back-to-back playoff appearances, the first playoff win in school history, and a win over perennial power Trotwood-Madison.
“I felt like we’ve done what we needed to do in the district to get our kids believing in football again,” Smitherman said by phone Thursday. “Tomorrow I’ll wake up and I’ll be in pursuit of a football team that’s interested in having me around. I don’t have any weightlifting set up. I don’t have any interviews. I appreciate Xenia and the opportunity they gave me.”
Xenia went 9-2 last season and won the Miami Valley League Valley Division, advancing to the playoffs for the first time. There were high expectations this season, but Xenia went 2-8 in a season with myriad distractions caused by COVID-19. While that record isn’t ideal, Xenia had nine first-year starters on offense and Smitherman’s philosophy isn’t just about what’s on the scoreboard.
“What we were trying to get done at Xenia is not about wins and losses,” he said. “Thirty-nine guys had an opportunity to move on (play in college) and two were from the first year.”
Smitherman will miss those and all of his players.
“I poured blood, sweat, and tears in these young men,” he said. “I love them to death.”
Superintendent Dr. Gabe Lofton said the district wishes Smitherman “the best of luck in future endeavors.”
“He came to the district in 2017, and had four successful seasons with Xenia High School, coaching the team to two conference championships and the first playoff appearance in school history,” Lofton said.
The district will begin searching for a new coach in the coming months, Lofton added.
Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.