Smith out, Hill in as Greenville basketball coach

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 17, 2007

Greenville High School football defensive coordinator Ernest Hill has been named as the head coach of the Tigers' boy's varsity basketball team, assuming both responsibilities last week.

Victor Smith, who coached the Tigers for the past two seasons, was relieved of his coaching duties nearly three weeks ago after Greenville missed the playoffs and finished under .500 for the second straight year.

Greenville Principal Kathy Murphy said the decision to make a change was a tough one and tough decisions are tough to make.

&#8220We obviously, at the end of all of our seasons, take a look at the success, or lack there of, and try to make a decision on where to go next,” Murphy said. &#8220It's our responsibility to adjust to all variables but, in the end, the coaching staff is ultimately responsible for the results and we didn't even bat .500.”

Greenville Athletic Director and head football coach Bryant Vincent also said the decision was a hard one and he thanked Smith for all his work.

&#8220Coach Smith is an outstanding guy and did a lot of things for our program,” Vincent said. &#8220I appreciate all his hard work.”

Murphy echoes those same sentiments.

&#8220I want to commend Coach Smith for the success he has had at Greenville High School and for the positive impact he's had on the young men at our school,” Murphy said. &#8220I have best wishes for him to have continued success.”

Although Smith was disappointed with the decision, he said he hopes the Tigers will have continued success.

&#8220I knew this season that next season was probably going to be the year,” Smith said. &#8220I think this up-coming year, they'll do good with whoever is the coach.”

This season, the Tigers had four seniors. Next season, the Tigers will have eight.

&#8220Basically, it's time to move on,” Smith said. &#8220But we will be pulling for them from the sidelines.”

Hill, Smith's replacement, coached eight seasons at Class 4A Handley High, reaching the regional finals twice.

Hill was also named area and county Coach of the Year twice.

&#8220I'm very excited about this opportunity,” Hill said. &#8220We've got a pretty good group of kids and we're going to try to do our best.”

Some of the first items of business Hill wants to address is getting the players into the weight room.

The players are already in their first week of weight training and Hill said he will expect the same dedication from his basketball players as he does his football players.

&#8220We have a bunch of kids who will lay it on the line, but we have to find guys who can play inside,” Hill said.

With his success on the court, on the football field and in the classroom, Murphy said Hill was the logical solution,

&#8220Coach Hill has done a very nice job for us, both as an instructor and as a coach,” Murphy said.

Vincent agreed.

&#8220When the position opened up, we already had a guy here on campus that was highly qualified for the position, so it was a no-brainer,” Vincent said.

For Hill, he's just glad to be back on the court.

&#8220I want to thank Dr. Murphy and Coach Vincent for the opportunity to lead the Greenville High basketball team,” Hill said. &#8220This opportunity means a lot to me and my family.”