Ada is hoping Toby Smith can revive the football program.
Last year Ada, with numbers issues as well as other problems, had to cut their season short after three games. In the past three years, the Bulldogs, who were frequent participants in the playoffs, have gone 4-19.
Enter Smith who has been successfull at all his stops.
Smith coached at West Liberty Salem Schools from 1995-2013. He served as head football coach at WLS from 1999-2012, compiling a 111-40 record during that span. His teams made nine playoff appearances. He then took over at Bellefontaine from 2012-19, where his teams amassed a 46-27 record in seven seasons. Smith won four Central Buckeye Conference titles and earned two playoff berths.
“I started off at Liberty Salem and that was a small school like this and really enjoyed my time there and I really wanted to get back into small school football,” Smith said. “I really like that in Ohio and my kids will be coming up and I would like to coach them at Ada.”
With 22 years of coaching under his belt, Smith remains optimistic he can be competitive despite the numerous challenges he faces.
“You just go ahead and do what you have to do,” Smith said. “You create culture. You try to develop the things you need to be successful.”
Ada saw approximately 30 players come out this year and Smith added he will continue to work on getting those numbers up.
“What you try to do is build numbers up through relationships,” Smith said. “In the first year it is very difficult to get those numbers up. Obviously we are very pleased with 30 and it is almost double what they had last year. We are happy about that but unitl I get in the classroom and in the building it will hard for me to reach those kids.”
Smith said the summer has gone well and the players are working hard to turn the program around.
“They are a good group of kids for a young group,” Smith said. “We have enough talent to be competitive.”
Smith will bring in his version of the spread that will focus on running.
Defensively, Smith brings in a 4-3 formation.
Smith admits he is still in the process of picking personnel and starters and expect to do so by evaluating the scrimmages and preason.
“It is all about competition and learning how to practice the right way and how to compete the right way,” Smith added. “We don’t know who can and can’t play football.”
Smith described scrimmages and the early part of the season as crucial.
“We aren’t doing scrimmages as a win or lose scenario,” Smith said. “We are learning on the fly and learning how to compete. All we really want is for our kids to go up against somebody else and compete regardless of the team we are playing.”
Smith said his expectations this season are simple and that is compete.
“We want to be physical every game and compete,” Smith said. “Obvioulsy mistakes and talent come into play a lot of th time but if you can compete every single snap the results will take care of themselves.”