Continuing a successful run of locally-produced coaches, Granite City High School has hired longtime assistant Scott Smallie as its new head baseball coach.
The 34-year-old Smallie replaces former coach John Moad, who resigned and is now the Warriors' athletic director.
Smallie is thrilled about getting his first opportunity to be a head coach in his home town.
"It's real exciting for me because this is the job I always wanted," said Smallie, a second baseman at Granite City High and later Lewis & Clark College before his career was sidelined by a hand injury. "A lot of people want to be a head coach, but I wanted to be a head baseball coach here at Granite City. I grew up here and love this town."
Moad knows Smallie well and believes he can continue the school's strong baseball tradition, which includes a state title in 1948 and a second-place finish in 1963.
"I think he'll do a great job," said Moad, who replaced current Granite City Principal Daren DePew as baseball coach and held the position form 2011 through 2014. "He's spent a lot of time here in town and knows a lot of people. We think he's a good teacher of the game, that's one of his strongest assets. He's very familiar with how we do things."
Moad said all three candidates were already on the Granite City coaching staff.
"We had very good quality candidates for this job," Moad said. "Sometimes you have to go outside, but when you have quality candidates within the district that makes for a good thing."
Smallie is an eighth grade history teacher at Coolidge Junior High in Granite City.
His previous coaching experience includes one year at Madison, two at Alton, four years as a softball assistant coach at Granite City and five years as a baseball assistant.
He was the junior varsity coach under Moad, also helping out with the varsity. Negotiating the rough baseball road through the Southwestern Conference is now in Smallie's hands.
"It's one of the best conferences around and has a lot of great baseball minds," Smallie said. "It's a tough conference. There's going to be really, really good teams that come out and lose their first game of the regional."
Smallie said he began to think about coaching while dealing with his hand injury and paying close attention to Lewis & Clark coach Randy Martz.
Smallie also credited former Granite City coaches Moad, DePew and Gus Lignoul for helping lay a solid baseball foundation.
Among the returning players this season are University of Mississippi recruit D.J. Miller, returning all-conference pick Bruce Drennan and Ryan Steen.
"We've got a big group of seniors coming back this year and I'm looking forward to working with them in baseball and also in helping them get into college," Smallie said.