He’s in his sixth year as the head coach of the UHS basketball team, and this year’s squad is ranked #1 in the state in the 5A ranks with a 25-8 record.
“What a blessing to be able to be a grad of University High and come back and have the number one team in the state and then get the opportunity to be the head football coach at your alma mater!” Smith said after his hiring was announced at a Board of Trustees workshop Thursday.
Waco ISD Athletic Director John Tusa is equally excited, saying, “When we began our search for a coach we wanted someone with a passion and desire to bring this program back to its glory days. We could not have found a better fit than Rodney.”
Smith was a two-sport high school all-star in the 1990s in both football and basketball for UHS, earning the Super Centex Athlete of the year award in 1994 and all-state honors as a defensive back. After graduating, he continued to play both sports at Baylor, leading the Bears in tackles for three consecutive years and being named one of the top five safeties in the nation his senior season.
After graduating from college, Smith played for the Indianapolis Colts in the NFL before returning to his high school alma mater in 2000 to coach in both of the sports he excelled at. He was an assistant football coach under Leroy Coleman, and an assistant basketball coach on Tarl Lloyd’s staff, and has remained at UHS his entire coaching career.
Smith became the Head Basketball Coach in 2011 and his teams have won district titles five of the last six years, including this season. The Trojans open their playoff run at 6 p.m. Monday, February 20, tipping off against Jacksonville at Fairfield High School.
He admits the timing of the coaching change is unusual, but he and his team know where his focus is right now.
“I’ve got a great group of kids – they know I’m 100 percent committed to them and the goal is to take them one game at a time and see what happens,” he explained.
He will continue coaching the UHS basketball team through the post-season before concentrating solely on football.
An educator for 15 years, Smith is the Behavior Specialist at University High School and is also working on getting a master’s degree.
He is married to Stacy Smith, the assistant track coach at Baylor University. They have two children, Sydney (11) and London (9).