Head coach Tim Smith (l.) with former head
coach Tom Pugh.
BY JORDAN GIBBONS
When Tom Pugh stepped down as head coach of the Holy Cross varsity football team after his 42-year tenure, the school knew it had big shoes to fill.
Thankfully, the school did not have to look far to find his replacement. Last week, Holy Cross announced that Pugh’s assistant, Tim Smith, would take over the reigns.
“Coach Pugh has been my longtime friend and mentor and it is going to be a challenge to fill those shoes,” Smith said. “I am very excited that they chose me for this position.”
Smith has primarily been a defensive coordinator during his coaching career, but he has been an offensive coach at St. Francis Prep and a head coach at Nazareth Regional High School.
He said that he will compile the offensive gameplan with his offensive assistants and oversee the offense, while calling the defensive plays.
Pugh credited Smith with a lot of the success of the program over the last three years.
“Tim is considered one of the best defensive coaches in the league,” Pugh said. “He’s done a heck of a job.”
While Pugh has retired, Smith does not plan to let him get too much rest and relaxation during the football season. He said he’s going to use Pugh’s experience and input as much as possible.
“You think I’m going to let him get away?” Smith joked. “I’m not letting him leave that easy.”
Smith is a FDNY Captain currently assigned to the Community Affairs Unit. He said that Engine Company operations is one of the closest jobs to football.
“You work together and you rely on each other,” Smith said. “So, I really see the two jobs as parallels.”
Smith sees his coaching style as a middle ground between a player’s coach and a disciplinarian that he referred to as “hard but fair.”
He feels that he is in tune with players and what they hope to achieve, while also being a guiding force in their lives.
“I think that the kids respect me, but at the same time, I try to teach them life lessons,” he said.
Smith credited Pugh with teaching him some crucial lessons on coaching high school students beyond just a focus on football.
“You have to have humility as a coach. Most importantly you have to go as far as you can to help players reach their goals,” Smith said. “You have to be innovative when it comes down to helping these kids achieve their goals.”
Smith has an additional challenge to tackle since longtime assistant coach Stan Aufieri also retired, but he said that he is going to try to mold a crew out of who he has left and make any additions to the staff as he sees fit and he is confident his staff and the players will continue to succeed.
“We have some very good returning players that will work hard to reach their full potential as student athletes,” Smith said. “With continued support from our faculty, coupled with dedication from players and coaches, I know that our program will be successful in developing good football players and great men.”
Reach Jordan Gibbons at (718)357-7400, Ext. 123, firstname.lastname@example.org or @jgibbons2.