Finding the Balance Between Athletic Director and Head Coach
November 2, 2016
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The job of Athletic Director is highly involved and time intensive, and can be overwhelming on its own. Couple this with being a coach, and you have a recipe for stress.
If anyone is suited for the task of juggling two time and labor intensive jobs, it is Brad Smiley, Trinity Valley’s head football coach and athletic director.
With a B.B.A. in Marketing from Baylor University and a Master of Education from Northwestern State University, as well as a 23-year background in coaching, Smiley’s experience has prepared him to thrive in both positions.
“I’ve always felt that my background as a business major-holding a business degree-along with being a coach kinda partnered together to make me someone that can look at the job from all aspects,” he said.
From monitoring TVCC’s teams, to scheduling games, to making sure the athletes and coaches are in compliance with NCJAA, the work is never done for an athletic director.
“It’s a tremendous challenge,” Smiley said. “First of all there’s not enough time in the day to get done what you need to get done. With six different sports, we can easily have a full time athletic director, which most of our counterparts in our region do have.”
What makes it all worthwhile? The love of sports.
Smiley’s love of sports is evident before a word is spoken. In his office, a football game was paused on a monitor in the corner, as well as the audio of a game playing from a computer behind him. The walls were covered with various sport and university-themed decorations.
“I’m a sports-nut, I watch anything on TV. I just love it. I wish I had more time to spend enjoying the other sports, especially in the fall.” Smiley said.
Maintaining efficiency and order doesn’t fall entirely on Smiley’s shoulders.
“We run very smoothly and efficiently thanks to Lucy Strom, our athletic coordinator,” he said. “She does an incredible job of keeping us all tied together and all on the same page. Without her, we would not be as successful as we are.”
It is no secret that Trinity Valley’s sports department has enjoyed success over the past few years, with a Top 15-ranked volleyball team, a reigning national champion cheer team, a Top 5 ranked women’s basketball team, and so on.
With such a steadily building collection of accolades, it is easy to become lost in the record-breaking mindset. Smiley’s focus isn’t primarily on records.
“Athens and Trinity Valley have been great to us,” Smiley said. ’It’s been supportive, and it’s been a great place to raise our family, so that’s why we’re here. The good lord has given us the tremendous opportunity to help a lot of young men out in our football program, so this is obviously where he wants us, and we’re making the most of it.”
However, he can’t help but want to continue the patterns of excellence the football team has set.
“I guess now that we’ve won our fourth straight conference championship, I’d want to win our fifth,” he said with a laugh.
Smiley appropriately deems Trinity Valley a “Division 1 athlete breeding ground,” as a large number of football players have moved from TVCC to sign with Division 1 universities.
In 2015, 19 Cardinal players signed with Division 1 universities, leading the nation in Division 1 signees.
He attributes the success of the Cardinal athletics, as well as his drive as the Athletic Director, to the entire athletic staff.
The athletic department’s focus is to instill values in the students that will lead them to success in their own individual lives.
According to Smiley, the goal is “helping them to become better employees one day, better employers one day, better husbands and wives, and fathers and mothers, and just better at life.”
“Everybody supports one another; everybody gets along really well. To me that’s kind of the key in life,” he said.
“People ask me all the time-because I coached division 1 football for 11 years- ‘Do you ever think about going back to division one?’” Smiley continued. “To me, when you’re talking about a career, when you enjoy the people you work with and when you enjoy the people you work for, you’re blessed.”
Smiley said that he isn’t in a hurry to go anywhere.
“I’m always trying to learn; I’m always trying to get better,” he concluded.