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Panthers introduce new coach

062519-Grant Smith

New North Pitt boys basketball coach Grant Smith (left) shakes hands with NP athletic director Matt Goddard on June 25, 2019.


By Jake Keator
The Daily Reflector

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

BETHEL-Tuesday evening brought about the beginning of the Grant Smith era for the North Pitt boys basketball program, as he was officially introduced as the leader of the squad or the 2019-2020 season.

Smith brings 14 years of high school coaching experience to Bethel, most recently coaching at West Montgomery High School in Mount Gilead for four seasons. He graduated from North Carolina State University with a degree in computer engineering. Smith will face unique test with the Panthers, as he will spend his workdays off campus at Physicians East in Greenville.

In Smith's final season West Montgomery went 10-13, 6-10 in the Yadkin Valley 1-A Conference. The Warriors lost in the first round to the Community School of Davidson, 86-41.

While his staff has yet to be entirely fleshed out, Smith will bring former Panthers girls basketball coach Neal Carr on board. Carr was on staff when the Panthers won their most recent state title in 2018.

"It's exciting to be a part of the North Pitt Panther family," Smith said. "I'm really excited about meeting the team, fellow coaching staff and other administration as well. I'm just really excited to get to work and becoming part of the family."

Smith was quick to begin meeting players and other faculty members who were in attendance, the first thing he hoped to do at his introductory press conference.

"That's step one," Smith said. "Building the relationships and setting out our expectations, making sure we are accountable to each other, which helps build and formulate trust. This is certainly a historic school and a historic county. We're excited about being a part of it."

On day one Smith had the basis for how he plans to run his new team. While not giving away his entire plan, he simply told the media that he plans to put a heavy focus on defense.

"I'll be honest with you, I'm a defensive-minded coach," he said. "I love defense. the fundamentals don't change in regards of being able to protect the basketball, being able to pass, shoot, rebound, things of that nature. We really want to key in on guys being able to lock down opponents."

The Panthers finished 9-17 overall last season, going just 3-7 in the Eastern Plains 2-A Conference under former head coach Mark Carson. The team failed to make the postseason.

Contact Jake Keator at jkeator@reflector.com, 252-329-9594 and follow @JakeKeatorDR on Twitter


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