The aesthetic appearance of Riverside Military’s campus took Ron Smith’s breath away. Now that he’s the head basketball coach for the Eagles, he’s got big visions for the program in Curtis Hall’s gymnasium.
Smith became Riverside Military’s coach on June 7 and his hire was announced to the media Friday. He takes over for Rico Zackery, who left to be a defensive coordinator for Rush Propst’s coaching staff on the Colquitt County football team.
Last season, Zackery led the Eagles to the second round of the Class AA state tournament. Smith feels they have the talent on board to still be a serious contender as the school drops down to the Georgia High School Association’s Class A.
“I feel like we have a really good nucleus in place,” Smith said. “We have Brandon Taylor still with us and he’s got to be the quickest point guard in Hall County.”
After taking a year off from the game and starting a non-profit ministry organization, Smith interviewed for the Riverside job and was immediately floored by the appearance of the campus and faculty in place. He said the last time going on the school’s campus before that was for track and field meets in high school.
“If there’s a better prep school in the country, I’d like to see it,” Smith said.
Smith last coached the Johnson High girls during the 2008-09 season and finished with an 0-23 record. His career ledger includes an overall record of 201-135 with three region championships and two state final fours during stints at Norcross, Jackson County and Pike County.
At Riverside, he’ll keep the Eagles’ two assistant coaches, Darius Smiley and Sharrod Taylor, on board.
Last season, Smith took a year to organize his ministry organization, WhosYourCoach. So far, his group has involved 40 student-athletes from Hall County with mission trips to Thailand and a pair of trips to Costa Rica. His plan is to eventually take a boys and girls basketball program on a trip.
“God laid it on my heart to start a ministry,” Smith said. “My target is kids with a heart for ministry work.