FORT PAYNE — Editor’s note: This is the fourth installment in a question-and-answer series with DeKalb County coaches, taking a look at their playing journeys and their coaching experiences. In Part 4, The Times-Journal interviewed Ider’s first-year boys basketball coach Blaine Smith.
Q: How long have you been involved in coaching both as a head coach and an assistant coach?
A: I was an assistant coach for seven years with stops at Sylvania, Pisgah, Section and Albertville. Last May, I was hired as the varsity boys basketball coach at Ider High School.
Q: What led you to coaching?
A: I knew early on that I wanted to stay involved with basketball after I was done playing. I think it’s the competition, the relationships you build with the people around the game and the impact you can make in your players’ lives.
Q: How would you describe your playing career?
A: I was an average 3A player at Pisgah High School. I wasn’t very athletic, so I had to use my head and my skill level to be able to contribute. That mindset has carried over to my coaching, in the sense of valuing hard work and how important skill development is.
Q: Who were some of the coaches you learned from as both a player and a coach?
A: I’ve been very lucky to have been mentored by four of the best coaches in northeast Alabama. My dad, Brian Smith, coached me my whole life and I was able to work with him one year at Sylvania. I played for Woody Beard at Pisgah. Coach Beard is a great person and is still a good friend in coaching. Jamie Pruett allowed me to coach every team under him at Section. We still communicate daily about basketball. Patrick Harding at Albertville is a hall-of-fame coach, one of the best in the state and he taught me so much in my two years at Albertville. The main thing I take away from the coaches I’ve been around is that outside of being very good coaches, they are great husbands and fathers.
Q: How would you describe what a shared love for basketball has meant to your relationship with your dad?
A: Not only basketball, but a love for sports in general has always been something me and my dad have shared. Basketball keeps us close and involved in each other’s lives. We’ve gotten to coach against each other a few times. I hope that some day we get to coach alongside one another.
Q: What encourages you about the future of the Ider boys basketball program?
A: It’s no secret that Ider’s boys basketball program was not in good shape this time last year. We talked every single day about laying a solid foundation in my first year. We didn’t care about results. Just that we worked hard, created an identity for ourselves and cultivated an importance to our basketball program. We did that. I know we will be successful at Ider because we have kids who are motivated, they work hard and they’re tired of being the last at the table. We are putting the time, energy and effort into basketball at Ider and that hasn’t been done in a while. Our future is very bright here and it’s because of the kids in our program.