GREER — For Josh Smith, the opening for a head baseball coach at Greer High School was too good of an opportunity to pass up.
Smith had dreamed about returning to the Yellow Jackets since his playing days ended when he graduated in 2000. He had played for Greer since 1996 and eventually went on to play for North Greenville University from 2000 to 2005. He always knew he wanted to return someday.
It was announced Monday on the Greer baseball Twitter account that Smith will be coming home.
Former Powdersville head coach Josh Smith will be the head coach of the Greer baseball program. (Photo: File)
After eight seasons with Powdersville, leading the program since its inception, Smith will be taking over at Greer after head coach Matt Landreth resigned this summer.
“The timing was right, I’m from Greer and it’s kind of been a dream of mine to come back to Greer. This opportunity kind of fell into my lap and it was something me and my family, talked about and prayed about,” Smith said. “Growing up in Greer, that is a very special high school, sports have always been a big emphasis.”
Greer athletic director Travis Perry knows Smith very well. Perry was the head coach of the baseball team when Smith was playing, and the two coached together for a stint at Christ Church Episcopal School.
“It’s a great opportunity to bring in a great player and person,” Perry said. “He’s done a great job at Powdersville and we’re excited for him to be a teacher and a coach. He’ll do a great job and it’ll be great for the kids and community.”
Smith will also be teaching physical education.
“It helps if they have all the certifications, it’s not just coaching it’s the teaching aspect,” Perry said. “It’s always good when you can bring former players back home because now they have the opportunity to give back.”
The decision to hire Smith, according to Perry, wasn’t only because Perry knew him well, but he has always been impressed by how well Smith knows the game.
“He’s very knowledgeable of his sport, he was a very good player but the main thing we look for is the qualities they have,” he said. “He’s a great Christian man who’s a good role model and sets good examples for them to follow.”
Smith said one of the reasons he wanted to come back to Greer was how the community supported the Yellow Jackets during his time there, which included the past baseball season where Greer went to the district championship game.
“They’re a young team,” Smith said. “It’s a good group of players coming back and that’s something I was excited about.”
The decision for Smith to leave behind Powdersville, although he said his daughters will continue to be enrolled in the Powdersville school district, wasn’t an easy one.
He was the Patriots’ first coach eight seasons ago when the school didn’t have a varsity program, just a junior varsity one.
In seven seasons at the helm of the varsity program he said his players taught him a lot, but the urge to go home was too strong.
“Powdersville is a special place,” he said. “We had fantastic support from parents, administration and we accomplished a lot of good things in the seven years that we had the varsity team. I think our guys really grew and made some great memories inside the baseball program.”
Perry said he’s confident that Smith will succeed not only because of who he is but who he follows. Landreth resigned to focus more on coaching the power lifting and football teams at Greer, but Perry said he left quite the foundation while he was at Greer.
“They really built the baseball program up and our expectations for Josh are to coach the kids hard,” he said. “He’ll teach them what’s important in life and some baseball along the way.”