Stacey Smith walked into Francis Howell athletic director Sean Erwin’s office on Monday and informed Erwin he was resigning as girls volleyball coach due to family obligations.
“It was extremely difficult to make this decision and it wouldn’t matter where I was coaching or what level, it’s hard to leave that part behind since I’ve been coaching for the past 22 years, it becomes part of your identity,” Smith said.
Smith’s wife, who is a full time nurse, is in training to be a nurse practitioner. Smith noted that with her schedule becoming hectic with that and the demands of coaching, it was too much to handle with 11-year old and 7-year old children.
Things had to change. Smith’s son could not play a sport during the fall because of the busy schedules of both parents.
So, Smith decided it was time to put his family first and let them chase their dreams for a change.
“They have sacrificed so long for me to follow my dream to coach and so it was just the right thing for me to do to sacrifice and I’ve had a lot of great years coaching, so it’s kind of their turn to do their thing,” Smith said.
Smith began his career as a high school coach at Warrenton, and then spent 10 years at Fort Zumwalt West before leading Howell the past two seasons.
Under Smith’s guidance, the Vikings went 63-9-3 and also made the program’s first trip to the Class 4 championship match in 2016.
“I inherited a really good program and it was left in great standing for me and I think we’ve been able to take what we had and build upon that,” Smith said. “I think that’s what every coach wants is to leave a program in a great place for the person coming behind them, so I feel good where I know the girls will be taken care of.”
Erwin said he fully understand’s Smith choice to move on at this time.
“I think it was one of those things were there would have been a lot of sacrifices on the family side of things, so he needed to step down,” Erwin said.
A search committee is being put together. Erwin is hoping to have a coach named in time for the February district board meeting.
The next coach will be inheriting a very successful program that annually has great expectations.
“The program’s had a lot of success and Stacey’s done a great job the past two years and I think the person’s going to be walking into a situation there is a great culture within in the program among our players, and also our parents,” Erwin said. “I definitely think it’s a great place to be and we have a good group of returning players, and I think it’s definitely it’s an opportunity where it’s a team that could make a run at a final four and do some great things.”