Smith took over at Osborne in 2011, determined to revive a program that hadn’t had a winning season or been in the state playoffs since 1994.
But he had hoped the Cardinals would be further along than they are now.
After three straight 2-8 seasons, Smith decided the program needed a new voice.
“I have resigned. I think it’s time,” Smith said. “I haven’t moved the program the way I wanted to, and it just wasn’t working out. I’m disappointed I haven’t been able to turn it around and pull the community together.”
Smith is 23-59 in eight seasons as a head coach, including tenures at Centennial and Cedar Shoals. His best season was in 2008, when he led Cedar Shoals to a 7-5 record and a place in the second round of the state playoffs.
After Osborne struggled to score in Smith’s first two seasons, he changed things by switching from a Wing-T offense to a spread offense, hoping it would create more space for his players to make plays.
But a promising 2-2 start resulted in a disappointing finish when Osborne lost six straight games to end the season.
Smith also started losing players during the course of the season. After having 60 players on the roster in August, only 28 dressed for Smith in Osborne’s season finale at Forsyth Central.
To make things even more challenging Osborne, the school was reclassified into the state’s largest classification, when its enrollment numbers exceeded the 1,800-student cutoff for Class AAAAAA.
Osborne was then placed in Region 4AAAAAA for the next two years, meaning the Cardinals would have to face off with the likes of McEachern, Hillgrove, Marietta and North Cobb for the next two years.
But knowing it wouldn’t have the numbers or manpower to match up against those teams, Osborne chose to play non-region schedules for the next two years as the program again rebuilds.
At this point, Smith decided it would be best for Osborne’s football program to build under new leadership.
“I respect coach Smith’s decision,” Osborne athletic director Brandon Mann said. “He thought it was time to bring a head coach in here to move the program forward and bring unity to the community.
“We’re looking for someone who wants to be at Osborne. We will look at the most qualified people and, hopefully, come up with the right person. We’re anxious about the feedback we may get.”
There were glimmers of hope for a bright future for Osborne in 2011, Smith’s first season.
Before beating North Paulding in Week 8, for their second win of the season, the Cardinals had lost four games by 11 points or less, and Smith was quoted at the time as saying, “It’s evident that we could be 5-1 right now.”
But Osborne struggled in its final three games, losing by an average of 27 points.
Then, in 2012, the Cardinals’ only two wins came against Cambridge, a first-year program.
“It’s time to let them bring in someone else,” Smith said. “I’ve done some things here, but it’s been a little frustrating, and it was time to move on. I want what’s best for the school and for the kids.”