DAPHNE, Ala. – United States Sports Academy alumnus Paul Smith, who was recently promoted to principal at Smithville High School in Texas following a long career in football coaching, education, and administration, says he uses his Academy degree “every day.”
Smith was promoted after most recently serving as Smithville’s assistant principal and proving himself as a “patient and consistent leader” who is “committed to being responsive to parents and supportive of campus staff while keeping the focus on student success,” according to the Smithville Independent School District. He earned his Master of Sports Science degree in sports management in 2002.
Smith has coached football at every level – from youth football to NCAA Division II – as well as overseas. He said his Academy education enabled and guided his transition from athletics to administration.
“The United States Sports Academy provided a great education for me,” Smith said. “It allowed me to do my course work online and fit my schedule. It was very challenging and rigorous. The coursework at the Academy really mirrors an administrative degree in education. It was more sport specific, but the cross over is there.
“I truly value my education at the Academy and have used and it every day. I am glad to be an alumnus and I am grateful for the opportunity it has provided me.”
Smith said his master’s degree helped him in the transition from coach to athletic director to principal saying it was a “natural progression” in the world of education.
“Being an athletic director taught me how to manage budgets and personnel,” Smith said. “I had to multitask and handle community relations. Becoming a principal was a natural progression of the educational administration pathway. The lessons I learned in coaching and being an athletic director serve me well as a principal. It is all about people and communicating with them. It is about understanding their wants and needs and how our school fits those needs.”
Before coming to Smithville High School, Smith served as principal in the McDade (Texas) Independent School District. He has also served as Florence (Texas) High School athletic director and has worked at the Round Rock, Manor and Pflugerville school districts in Texas.
Smith has more than 30 years of experience as a football player and coach, including playing at the collegiate level and coaching in England for five years.
“I have coached at every level for 30 years,” Smith said. “I’ve coached Pop Warner to NCAA Division II football at Fort Lewis College (Durango, Colo.). I played high school football in Texas at Bastrop High School. I played and coached in England for the Harrogate Hawks, a British American Football Team. I was the head coach there for five years and posted a 45-4-1 record.”
Smith will have many duties as Smithville’s principal. He will manage a staff of 75 teachers and employees for the school along with approximately 540 students.
“I manage the day to day operations of the school,” Smith said. “I hire all staff associated with the high school. I manage the budget for the high school. I communicate to parents and community members on a daily basis. I interact with district personnel on a daily basis for maintenance, transportation, and compliance of state and federal laws.
“I love working with the students. Each one has their whole future in front of them and it is exciting to see their dreams come to life.”
Along with his Academy master’s degree, Smith holds a bachelor’s degree in exercise science from Fort Lewis College and is certified in social studies composite, business, technology, physical education and health as is certified as a Texas principal.
The United States Sports Academy is an independent, non-profit, accredited, special mission sports university created to serve the nation and world with programs in instruction, research and service. The role of the Academy is to prepare men and women for careers in the profession of sports.
The Academy is based in Daphne, Ala. For more information, call (251) 626-3303 or visit www.ussa.edu.