Shane Smith has been coaching at First Presbyterian Christian Academy for six years, and had coached amateur basketball before accepting the job. Now, after hard work, Coach Smith has earned his 100th win at FPCA in November.
“It was… I don’t know,” Smith said about his monumental win. “I never imagined, first of all, being in that position. It was exciting, the team was happy, and it was a really exciting moment. It was an exciting game we almost threw away, but it made it even more special that we were able to pull it out.”
Smith said a great opportunity offered by FPCA brought him to the school, he said. The secret to his coaching success, he said, is that he’s been given a lot of good kids, and works for a great program.
“I’ve been blessed to get kids who listen and want to win,” Smith said. “I want them to be a better person, get a degree, go to college, and just succeed in life. I try to do the best I can to lead these young men in the right direction.”
FPCA’s boys basketball overall record stands at 101-31, with four region championships, one state championship, one state runner-up and four Final Four appearances. Smith has received four Region Coach of the Year awards, and one State Coach of the Year award, he said.
Even FPCA’s Head of School Lauren Hale is excited about each season.
“I am very excited about this season,” Hale said. “It feels different and looks different. Although our numbers may be small, we are mighty and I am confident in the program. Coach Shane has some incredible kids on the team this year and I am looking forward to seeing more and more out of the program.”
And as of Dec. 1, FPCA won the Golden Warrior Holiday Classic that was hosted by John Paul II Catholic School in South Carolina, Smith added.
“We beat them in the championship game 50-39,” Smith said. “Sheldon Lewis was named to the All-Tournament team, as well as Daeshon Carmon being named Most Outstanding Player in the tournament.”
Smith’s goal is to win another regional championship, but he’ll settle for a state championship first, he said laughing. FPCA plays teams based in Savannah, and not locally, he continued.
According to Smith, the best part of coaching is mentoring the kids. Being there to help and point them in the right direction is Smith’s passion. Smith plans to coach as long as he can, and being able to coach every day is a blessing.
“There is no worst part of this job,” he said. “If there was, I wouldn’t be here.”
Smith credits the majority of his success to those that help support the team.
“I’d like to thank God first and foremost for the opportunity to be here,” Smith said. “FPCA for giving me the opportunity to be the coach here. All the kids and former players I’ve coached, I thank them for all the hard work and effort they gave when they were here. And I want to thank my assistant Coach David Linderman, who’s been with me since day one.”