Kevin Smith Hired to Take Over Ocean City Football
Longtime assistant gets opportunity to lead the program.
Kevin Smith has seen first-hand the highs and lows of the Ocean City High School football program. Now it’s his turn to lead the Red Raiders on the gridiron.
The longtime assistant has been hired by the school district to be the head coach of the football squad.
Smith, 42, is a history teacher at the school and has spent 15 seasons as an assistant under legendary coach Gary Degenhardt and Mark Impagliazzo.
The latter chose not to apply for the position again this year, according to Ocean City athletic director Christine Lentz.
Smith, who played football at Gettysburg University, has been at Ocean City since 1991.
“I spent 15 years as an assistant and I learned a lot,” said Smith, who graduated from Mainland High School in 1987. “When the opportunity came up to run the whole show, it was too good to pass up.”
“What didn’t I like? He is a passionate and articulate young man,” Lentz said of Smith. “He has a sense of history for our program, which is under transition. He has a well-thought-out plan to revitalize the program.”
Smith, who is married and has a son, was an assistant when the Red Raiders were among the best teams in South Jersey, if not the state, in the mid to late 1990s, and when the team fell on tougher times in recent years.
The Red Raiders were 3-7 in 2010 and won just one of their final six games.
However, Smith doesn’t expect to transform the program back to its glory days overnight.
“Right now, there are four teams in our division that we have to play each year—in Hammonton, Holy Spirit, Mainland and Oakcrest, which are four of the best teams in the area,” Smith said. “We have to catch up to them. We are not going to talk about titles and get back to where we were in the 1990s."
“Our biggest thing we want to emphasize is we need to get stronger. Beyond that, we have good kids here to build a foundation.”