HOLTON, Mich. — 30-year-old Alex Smith has accepted his first head football coaching position.
"It has always been my dream," Smith said.
The former Grand Rapids Christian and Spring Lake defensive coordinator says he's focused on building the program from the youth levels.
"A thing that jumped out to me was the commitment from the principal and athletic director to get me a job in the school," Smith said. "I'll come in and teach some P.E. classes and have a great chance to build trust and bonds with kids."
Smith inherits a Red Devils football program that played in a state semifinal in 2018 but has struggled during the past two seasons, going a combined 4-13.
"We have a lot of guys coming back, I believe nine on offense and nine on defense, my goal as a leader of this program is to change the expectations. It's going to start in our summer program, just how hard we work and how we attack every day. Our goal is to be the hardest working and toughest team in Division 8."
The defensive coaching background has come easily for Smith, who played defensive end and outside linebacker at Central Michigan from 2009-2013 and also coached at the college level with the Chippewas and Austin Peay University.
"Guys like Butch Jones, Coach Reynolds who's now at Syracuse, I've picked and choose from those guys and pouring it all into kids, that's the kind of coach I am," Smith added.
He says it'll be about three core principles.
"We talk about effort, competing and love; we're going to compete in everything that we do in 100% effort and love for each other, the whole goal of this program is to have these kids turn into the best version of themselves."
While the program will remain in the Central States Silver for the next year, plans are to jump to the West Michigan Conference in 2022.
As a whole, Smith says he's dedicated to the future in Holton and can't wait to get started.
"When you talk about culture, it's nothing you can just throw on a T-shirt or poster; you have to talk about it and preach those values and your vision every single day. That's what I'll try to do."
The Red Devils will open the season on Aug. 27 against Hart and first-year head coach Joe Tanis, who happens to be a best friend of Smith's.
SEE MORE: SPORTS