BOLINGBROOK – In hiring a new girls basketball head coach, Bolingbrook High School athletic director Rob Rose said he didn't want to settle.
He won't have to.
In a move that became official at Monday's school board meeting, Chris Smith will replace Tony Smith as the new head coach of Bolingbrook's vaunted girls basketball program.
"I'm excited. I'm looking forward to it," Smith said. "It's a rich tradition here and I look to keep it going. Yes, we're going to have some rebuilding to do, but I'm looking forward to the challenge and keeping the tradition going."
Tony Smith resigned his position May 2, Rose posted the opening May 22 and he received five applicants, three of which were interviewed on June 3 and June 4 with Chris Smith emerging as the top choice.
"No. 1, he's somebody who cares for the kids," Rose said. "And I think he's a guy who comes highly recommended by some of the higher profile players to come through here."
Chris Smith, a Bolingbrook resident, has coached with the Bolingbrook Panthers for 14 years, 10 years as a travel team coach. Ariel Massengale, soon to be a junior at Tennessee, and Morgan Tuck, who will be a sophomore at UConn, both played for Smith with the Panthers' traveling team.
"Ariel Massengale thinks very highly of him," Rose said. "He helped turn around a Joliet Catholic program that didn't have a lot of success before he got there."
Smith, who played high school ball at Luther South in Chicago, won two state titles in three seasons as an assistant at Montini Catholic High School in Lombard before assisting the last two years at Joliet Catholic. The Angels went 24-5 and won a regional last season after going 9-16 the year before.
While the coach may be new, much of what the Raiders do on the court should remain the same.
"It's a big act to follow, but I'm not walking in and doing what Tony Smith did," Smith said. "I'm Chris Smith and I'm going to do what Chris Smith does and do what made the Panthers one of the top programs in the country.
"I like to play the transition game, but I also want to be a complete ball club. I want to play pressure defense and transition offense as well as half-court offense."
With the summer contact period open, Smith said he intended to start camp and reconnect with some of his former Panthers players as soon as possible.
"I'm looking forward to being there with the girls," Smith said. "A good portion of the girls I already know because they played travel ball for me."