Jermaine “Jimmy” Smith, Cedar Grove
1. What is the most memorable game you’ve been a part of as a player or coach? “As a player, the OVC championship in college, Tennessee State vs. Murray State in 1998. It was a scoring battle. We ended up winning 46-44 when one of my teammates blocked a field goal. It was my first college championship. [Smith was Tennessee State’s quarterback. The team would repeat as Ohio Valley champion in 1999.] As a coach, it would be in my first year as a head coach, the first round against Elbert County . It went three overtimes and we ended up winning [22-14]. Our guys just kept playing. It was a point when our program really started to change.”
2. Which high school coach would you want your son to play for, and why? “Henry Mabry. He’s currently on my staff [linebackers coach]. He’s one of those guys that does more than coach. He teaches young men to be young men. That’s very important.” [Mabry has been coaching at Cedar Grove since 1983 and was offensive coordinator on the 1991 team that went 14-1.]
3. What is your pet peeve as a coach or favorite saying/motto? “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.”
4. Which GHSA policy or high school football rule would you most like to see changed? “For the NCAA to allow summer official visits. We had guys that wanted to go on Saturday, but we had a game. It’s hard for them to make visits during school and during the season. Summer is ideal. It helps them make a more informed decision.”
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