BOLINGBROOK – It was just time.
Tony Smith resigned his position as head coach of Bolingbrook’s girls basketball team May 2, saying it was time to move on.
“Bolingbrook is home, Bolingbrook will always be home, and Bolingbrook gave me a great start to my career,” Smith said. “It was just another opportunity at the right time to go build a new program. I’ve been at Bolingbrook 12 years, and sometimes you just want a different challenge.”
Smith will take the same position at Homewood-Flossmoor High School next season, where he also will teach health and driver’s education. He built Bolingbrook into a national powerhouse and perennial state title contender, and that’s where he hopes to take H-F. He will take over a Vikings’ team in better shape to contend than Bolingbrook was when he took the reins there. The Vikings went 63-25 in three years under former head coach Dana Noble.
“There is no comparison,” Smith said. “When we took over, Bolingbrook wasn’t quite where H-F is. They have a great foundation. They have talent. They’ve won there a little bit already. It’s nothing against Bolingbrook. H-F is a diamond in the rough.”
When he arrives at his new job, Smith will reunite with Alec Anderson, the former Bolingbrook athletic director and current athletic director at H-F.
“Being able to work with Alec again was a part of it,” Smith said. “He was a great AD here and we had seven great years working together. He helped me build up Bolingbrook to where we got it to.”
Smith’s resignation left Bolingbrook athletic director Rob Rose with a bit more on his plate going forward as he searches for a new coach.
“As a graduate of Bolingbrook High School, I remember a day when girls basketball wasn’t anywhere near what it is now,” Rose said. “They’re going to be tough shoes to fill. Tony did a great job with building our program into one of the best in the country.”
Rose said the process of Smith’s resignation was as simple as signing a letter that said he planned to resign his position as coach and health teacher at the end of the school year. Rose said that soon after Smith signed that letter, he posted the open job position on the Valley View School District website to begin the process of hiring a new coach.
“We haven’t talked to anybody internally about taking over, but I wouldn’t be opposed to that,” Rose said. “But my job and our job is to find the best candidate for the kids.”
The sooner Rose can have a new coach in place the better as the summer season, in which coaches are allowed 25 contact days with players and teams start building for the winter season, is rapidly approaching.
“We have to get rocking and rolling because the summer is coming up, and that’s an important time,” Rose said.
Smith started his coaching career at Bolingbrook in 2001 and coached the Raiders to four state titles (including three straight from 2008-09 to 2010-11), two additional title game appearances and another state trophy in seven consecutive seasons. Bolingbrook compiled a 329-39 record during his tenure.
“It’s not a great day for Bolingbrook High School, but we wish him the best,” Rose said the day Smith resigned. “Tony and I both graduated from here and go back to when we were growing up in the same area. I hope he does well. It’s an exciting opportunity for him and I wish him the best.”