OBHS football coach takes same position at Spanish Fort

OBHS football coach takes same position at Spanish Fort
Chase Smith led Makos to play-offs in program’s 2nd season

By Fran Thompson
Chase Smith, the first ever football coach/athletic director at Orange Beach High School, was approved for those same positions at state power Spanish Fort during the Baldwin County Board of Education’s March 4 meeting.
Smith was hired as Orange Beach High School’s first football coach and athletic director on April 1, 2019, four months before OBHS opened to 9th and 10th grade students.
“Starting a program from scratch can seem like an impossible task, but through Mako grit we all were able to make history with the success that our student-athletes achieved in just the program’s infancy,’’ Smith wrote in a farewell letter to Mako Nation.
The Makos debuted as a varsity program in 2020 with a lopside non-conference win against Shields on Aug. 20 and finished with a 3-6 record.
The team followed with a nine win season and a home play-off game in 2021. One of the team’s two losses was a COVID related forfit.
Smith returns to a familiar place, having coached at Spanish Fort for four years. He worked with running backs in 2007, defensive linemen from 2008 to 2009 and the offensive line in 2010.
Before leaving to build the program at OBHS, Smith was the Robertsdale High School head coach for one year.
A graduate of Shades Valley High School in Birmingham and player at Jacksonville State, he coached at Spain Park and Hoover before heading to Spanish Fort. From 2011-2017, Smith coached at the University of South Alabama, first as a graduate assistant, then as director of football operations, and tight ends and offensive linemen coach.
Smith’s is the third coach that Spanish Fort has poached from Pleasure Island, as he replaces former Gulf Shores High School coach Ben Blackmon, who made the play-offs every year, earned four regional championships and a 6A state championship in his seven seasons there. The Toros finished 10-2 in 2021.
Mark Freeman left GSHS in 2014 to take a position at Spanish Fort after leading the Dolphins to a 13-9 record and one play-off berth in his two seasons on Pleasure Island. Freeman would go on to win two Class 5A state championships in his four seasons at Spanish Fort.
A class act by all accounts, Smith thanked the OBHS teachers, administration, and student-athletes that helped OBHS earn unprecedented success in its first five semesters. He also thanked the City of Orange Beach for its relentless support of all things related to Orange Beach schools, adding, “Thank you parents for your continuous dedication to create a culture of accountability.’’