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Southside’s Smith resigns as football coach

Former Head Coach Marty Smith talks to his players at the Southside High School football practice on August 9, 2013. (Photo by Eric T. Wright | The Gadsden Times)

This story has been updated from its original version.

The Etowah County Board of Education accepted the resignation of Southside High School head football coach Marty Smith on Wednesday afternoon during a called meeting.

Smith, who has spent two seasons on the sideline with Southside, was adamant that he was not forced to resign.

“I wasn’t asked to resign,” Smith said. “I resigned on my own, nobody asked me to. I don’t know where that story is coming from. The administration at Southside has been very, very supportive.”

Still, the decision to resign just eight days from the beginning of the regular season could put the Panthers in a tough situation as it enters the 2013 season full of high expectations.

“They’re going to handle it 100 percent,” Smith said. “The coaching staff that’s there is going to be wonderful. I told them today that I look forward to see them get to play a round one playoff game at home.”

Smith added, “I know this: The kids deserved my heart and soul, 100 percent. And I didn’t know if I could give that to them at this point and time.”

Smith said he likely would work with his dad, who owns a construction company in Trussville.

“Anybody that knows me knows that family is very, very important,” he said. “And I owe where I’m at and what I’ve been able to do with my life to my dad.

“Life just throws you curveballs sometimes. It throws it in a way that you have to adapt and adjust. I love Southside High School. I love the administration there. I love every part of it. It’s been a wonderful place for me to work.”

Alan Cosby, superintendent of Etowah County schools, did not answer questions following the short board meeting Wednesday, but he did hand out a statement to media in attendance.

“Marty Smith has resigned his teaching and coaching positions at Southside High School effective immediately,” the statement said. “We wish him the best in his future endeavors.”

The statement went on to say that an interim coach has not been named.

“We hope to have an interim head football coach in place as soon as possible,” it said. “Southside High School looks forward to the upcoming football season.”

Smith went 9-11 during his two years with Southside. The Panthers are expected to contend for the Class 5A, Region 7 championship with 16 returning starters.

Smith was hired by Southside in February 2011 after spending two years with the Alabama Sports Foundation and Bruno’s Event Team. Prior to that, Smith coached basketball and was an assistant football coach for Clay-Chalkville High School.

He spent 14 seasons at John Carroll Catholic as the head boys basketball coach, where he led the Cavaliers to back-to-back state titles in 2003-04.

Southside plays in a jamboree Thursday against Glencoe and opens the regular season Aug. 29 on the road against Hokes Bluff.