Smoot, Mathews resign as basketball coaches

Stonewall Jackson boys basketball coach Patrick Smoot, center, talks to his players during a timeout on Jan. 21. Smoot and Warren County coach Vernon Mathews recently resigned as head coaches. Rich Cooley/file art

The coaching carousel in the area continues.

Boys basketball head coaches Vernon Mathews (Warren County) and Patrick Smoot (Stonewall Jackson) have both recently resigned from their positions. Central girls basketball coach Mallory Skarupa and Strasburg girls basketball coach Joel Morgan resigned in recent months as well.

Smoot has decided to go back to school and get his master’s degree. He said he has been in contact with Stephon Healy since November about possibly serving as a graduate assistant for Gallaudet University’s football team. Smoot said he will serve as the quarterbacks coach.

“It’s been a long process for me. It was a very tough decision,” Smoot said. “Stonewall has always been home for me. Everybody’s always done so much for me. Finally, about the middle to end of March, I made the decision. This is where I needed to go and what I needed to do.”

Smoot said that he had never really thought about coaching at the college ranks until the opportunity came along.

Gallaudet is a school for the deaf and hard of hearing. Smoot said he has taken a sign language class before, and he will head to Gallaudet in June and take another sign language class.

Smoot said that when the Generals went to a flexbone offense two years ago that Gallaudet was one of the schools that he talked to about the offense, and he has stayed in touch since then.

Mathews, who is retired from the Army, has been the boys basketball coach for the last six years, and said that he decided last July that this would be his last season.

He said he just finished his master’s degree in global intelligence security studies, and wants to look at possibly getting a job in that field.

“I just felt like if I was going to start looking that I needed to step down. It was kind of hard to commit to coaching when I knew I was going to be looking elsewhere,” Mathews said. “I just felt for me and my family it was the right decision at this time.”

Mathews said he also plans to resign as head varsity baseball coach after the season is over.

He said he’s not sure what he will be doing next year, but he plans to return to coaching at some point.

Smoot took over a basketball program that won only once in three previous seasons and was able to make some progress in his three years at the helm. In his first season, the Generals were able to win seven games.

Stonewall Jackson only won one game this past season, but played in a lot of close games in a very tough district and conference.

“I was always taught anytime you leave, leave it in better shape than what you found it in — I felt like I did that,” Smoot said. “We may not have had a lot of success in terms of wins and losses, but hopefully we laid a good foundation that the program can build off of for years to come.”

The Generals had a young team last season, and Smoot said he believes if they work hard in the offseason they will have some good years coming up.

Stonewall Jackson athletic director Todd Fannin said that he hopes to have the position filled by the time summer rolls around.

Warren County athletic director Ed Dike said that as soon as he knows what teaching positions are open, he will begin the interview process.

“I really like for my teachers to be in the school if possible,” Dike said. “Once I know what teaching positions are open, we’ll try to make a hire as quick as we can.”

Mathews said that he really enjoyed coaching at Warren County.

“I had a bunch of great coaches in high school, and they had a big influence on my life,” Mathews said. “I felt like it was only right to give back to the sports and to the athletics. I’ve truly enjoyed all my relationships with the kids — it’s been a pleasure.”

Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com