Kentucky State’s Leading Rusher, Reginal Harris (Pictured Above)
November 11, 2016- Today the Kentucky State Thorobreds have the opportunity to win their school’s first ever SIAC Conference Championship. A remarkable feat considering their 1-8 record last year, or being picked to finish in last place by Coaches and Sports Information Directors during SIAC Media Day.
Luckily, Coach Smith did not let his team internalize these limitations. In order to be successful, he had to completely reivent the culture at Kentucky State. A task that most believed wouldn’t be achieved this year.
Wrong. This year the Thorobreds have signature wins versus divisional rivals Tuskegee University and Miles College. They have the SIAC Freshman Player of the Year, quaterback Jules St. Ge. In addition, Coach Smith was named SIAC Coach of the Year.
We sat down with Coach Smith to reflect on this season’s success and discuss the true meaning behind his “Witness The Transformation” theme.
According to Coach Smith, the key component to a successful transformation is putting a quality product on the field. This inevitably leads to success and in turn attracts recruits.
From the very begining, Coach Smith challenged his Thorobred players. No longer would mediocrity be acceptable. To begin the season, he immediately tested his team by scheduling very tough road games against elite Division II competition.
At first, this gamble looked like a costly mistake. The Thorobreds lost their season opener 57-7 versus Charleston Southern University. A few week later they were blown out by 38 points to regional powerhouse Valdosta State.
Coach Smith saw it differently. He said, “The early tough road games taught our team how to travel, what’s expected of them, and how [on the road] you have to play every single play one at a time”
Without a doubt, Kentucky State rebounded from their early adversity. They beat a nationally ranked Tuskegee team on the road during homecoming. They also had a come from behind homecoming win versus Miles College. A win Coach Smith considers a signature for the program. He went on to say :
“To move into the upper echelon of the league you have to beat the best in the league.”
Even with a win today, Coach Smith knows the transformation is not complete. Regardless of the outcome,the Thorobreds still will still finish the season with a losing record.
For Coach Smith the goals for each year are to send seniors out as winners, win the SIAC Championship, and win a National Championship. Two these goals are still attainable.
Win or lose Kentucky State has made the rest of the SIAC “Witness The Transformation.”