Football team gets new defensive coordinator

Natalie Hanassab

Reggie Smith Jr., son of former MLB player Reggie Smith, has turned a new chapter in his life by accepting the defensive coordinating job for the Pierce College football team.

He came to us after coaching at Chaminade High School in West Hills for the past five years.

Smith grew up loving, playing and watching sports. This was mainly because of his athletic father, who is currently the baseball coach for Team USA in the upcoming Olympic Games.

Smith attended Montclair Prep High School in Van Nuys, where he played his two favorite sports, baseball and football.

Although he was constantly surrounded by a lot of talent, his father never pressured him into anything, but let him choose his own path.

“I got to hang out with world-class athletes and learn from them every day,” he said.

Smith enjoyed coaching at Chaminade, but like many people, always seeked more opportunities and open doors. After five years, Smith decided it was time to move on to bigger and better things. He left the job to a new coach to bring something new.

“I wanted to hand over the job to the new coach, so he can bring in his own staff and new coaching strategies to the team. When the opportunity came for the job at Pierce, it was the perfect time and I took it,” he said.

With his lifetime and many experiences in Zen, a Japanese philosophy, he plans to bring a unique but positive coaching style to the field. Zen mostly focuses on the present moment rather than the past.

He will be using his “martial arts background style” while he is on the field, but that does not mean he isn’t going to be a typical tough football coach.

“I coach aggressive attack-style defense and show my players how to play championship-style football. I also highlight each of my players in everything they bring out on the field,” Smith said.

Offensive Coordinator Jim Thorton, who is also new at Pierce, is looking forward to what Smith has to offer this season. Thorton has spoken to him a variety of times and likes what he hears.

“I always look forward to new challenges, new players and new experiences. After speaking with Smith, I know he will be bringing a new experience, a new philosophy,” he said.

Head coach Efrain Martinez and his players are definitely curious to see the impact that Smith will have on their team, whose season begins this January. He also discusses Smith’s defensive strategy, like his other fellow coaches did.

“The kids trust my judgment,” he said.

The next season should be a winning one with the new changes that are taking place and the hard-working players. After all, the players must attend 85 percent of the practices in the pre-season to be able to play, according to Martinez.

In a new recruiting program for high schools, players who do not receive out-of-state scholarships have the opportunity to play for Pierce. “Reggie brought a long many local recruits for us, and we have many commitments because of that. We are now only accepting local players,” Martinez said.

Although the new season has not yet begun, Smith has already spoken to the players and started working with them. “I like what I see and respect all the hard work,” he said.

He has also built a good relationship with some of the players already, with the positive reinforcement that is shown at practice.

Smith describes himself as “a teacher, but still a player.” The one thing he looks forward to most this season is stated plain and simple: “Just getting out there and playing football.”

Reggie Smith Jr., football’s new defensive coordinator, sits in the stands at Brahma Stadium. ()