Pending school board approval at the June 13 board meeting, Tyler Smith has been announced as the new girls basketball coach at Crawfordsville High School. “We are excited about the addition of Tyler to the Athenian coaching staff,” Crawfordsville athletic director Bryce Barton said. “The hiring committee was pleased with the vision that Tyler has for our girl’s basketball program. He stressed continuous improvement of his players, his staff, and himself throughout the interview — which is key to any high school program.” Smith brings over 10 years of coaching experience at Crawfordsville, Brownsburg, Southmont and Christ Church Academy in Jacksonville, Florida and is excited about the opportunity to be a varsity coach for the first time. “I’ve been around Crawfordsville athletics for the last four years between softball and middle school basketball,” he said. “And I really feel like over the last 10 years has kind of led up to this moment. I always believed I would end up coaching in high school for basketball at some point and when the opportunity came up I decided to go for it. I’m just really excited about the opportunity.” Smith, who is a 2003 graduate of Southmont and 2008 graduate of Lincoln Christian University where he played both basketball and baseball, most recently coached the boys eighth-grade team at Crawfordsville and spent three seasons as an assistant coach for former softball coach Britney Carpenter. He believes time spent around Athenian athletics will go a long way in helping build a successful program. “I think it has helped being in different programs and I have the advantage of having been in Crawfordsville athletics for a while to know how they do things and the culture and what they’re trying to accomplish,” he said. Smith understands the difference in coaching boys and girls, and plans to use his experience coaching junior-varsity girls basketball at Christ Church Academy and three years of softball at Crawfordsville to make the transition easier. “I think it was a big help in terms of seeing the different personalties and how they work together,” he said of his prior experience coaching girls. “It’s definitely a different element than boys sports in certain aspects, but I think I learned a lot from her (Carpenter) with a calm but furious approach. Making the game fun, but knowing also when it’s time to get serious and hammer down the fundamentals. She also stressed a lot that we’ve got to start from the ground up and looking at the youth levels which takes time, so making some of that mindset as well working with the girls basketball program.” Building relationships with all coaches and players at every player will be a big emphasis out of the gate. “Trying to build relationships with all the coaches from the youth league up and giving them some very specific goals that we want even if it’s five things that we want every Athenian girls basketball player to have by the time they’re a freshman,” Smith said. “Just being a face and showing up at some games an getting to know the kids and the coaches, and showing that you care and that you’re not just waiting on them to get to be freshman.” Smith, who has been a youth minister for over 13 years and currently in that role at New Hope Christian Church is excited to take his love for basketball and working with teens and molding them together on the court. “I’m absolutely in love with the game of basketball,” he said. “I love coaching and I love helping students. I’ve been a youth pastor for 14+ years so I’ve been working with teens for a really long time and I love the opportunity to help them grow to try and take their game to the next level, but also help them with character and things that they go through in life and knowing that it’s about more than wins and losses.” Smith is still finalizing his coaching staff, but expects to meet with the team on Monday and hit the ground running.