David Hall, Reporter
Due to the departure of head coach Jess Smith, the Scottsboro baseball program is in search of a new head coach.
Smith served as Scottsboro’s head coach for three seasons and is now leaving to take the same job at the back-to-back defending Class 5A state champions Russellville.
Scottsboro went 42-36 in three seasons under Smith, one of which was a shortened season due to COVID-19. Last season he led the team to a 16-13 record and a Class 6A Area 15 championship.
Smith credits his time at Scottsboro for putting him in the mix for the Russellville job that he now has.
When speaking about leaving Scottsboro, Smith said, “This is a great place with great people to work with. I’m so thankful to everyone. Grateful to my players for believing in me and being coachable. I think the success of Scottsboro baseball is only beginning. I’m proud to have been a part of it and it’s only going to trend upward.”
The Russellville City School System approved Smith’s hiring on July 26. Smith served as an assistant coach on Russellville’s staff before his time at Fort Payne. “It’s exciting to go be a part of that again,” said Smith. “I always had a special place in my heart for Russellville.”
Smith is taking control of a program that has seen five state championships since 2015 (2015, 2016, 2017, 2021, and 2022) under former head coach Chris Heaps. Smith was an assistant on Russellville’s 2017 championship team.
“I was able to learn under Coach Heaps, and it not only made me a better coach, it made me a better man. I am honored to follow in his footsteps and continue what he started here at Russellville,” Smith said.
He says the Russellville job is his dream job. “I believe Russellville is the best job, no other place has the resources, support, and results they’ve had,” said Smith. “I’m coming back to a place that feels like home, and I’m beyond excited to be part of this program and part of this community again.”