Smiths Station High School has a new head football coach.
Mike Glisson was introduced as the newest addition to the Panthers’ coaching tree at Tuesday’s Lee County Board of Education meeting.
Glisson most recently spent over a decade in the area as the defensive coordinator and as a line coach at Beauregard (2015-2017) and Auburn (2006-2014) High Schools.
“I’m excited and honored for the opportunity. I think it’s a great opportunity to get in there and build something from the ground up,” he said. “They’ve had a tough road lately and I’m just excited to get in there and get to work, and hopefully get this community behind this team and get everybody to join in and lets get the team going in the right direction.
“I’ve been around this area my whole life. Smiths Station has always been a job that I’ve liked. I’ve interviewed for it before. I’m just excited; I think there’s a lot of good people in Smiths Station, I think there’s a lot of good things that can go on in Smiths Station. It’s just always been a job I’ve kind of wanted through the years.”
Glisson brings with him 28 years of coaching experience, including two years (1998-97) as the head coach of Glenwood; he went 7-14 in his two years, improving from a 2-8 record in his first year to 5-6 and a trip to the AISA Class AAA playoffs. Additionally, he's had coaching stops at Hardaway (Ga.), Americas (Ga.) and Shaw (Ga.) High Schools.
“I’ve been with some guys who’ve done great jobs,” Glisson said of his experience. “When we went to Auburn, they were an average team most year in and year out; we built it from the ground up doing things right.
“It’s not a magic formula. You show the kids you love them, you care about them and they’re going to work for you.”
He is the third head coach for the Class 7A Panthers since Mark Rose resigned after the 2013 season. Jason Dukes took over the position for the 2014 and 2015 seasons, going 11-9 overall and 6-4 – the last winning season for the program – in his last year. Adam Fossett most recently went 0-10 this past season to bring his overall record to 2-18 in a two-year span.
The last postseason for the trip the Panthers was in 2013 when Rose led the team to a 10-3 record and a trip to the 6A quarterfinals – the team moved up to 7A for the 2014 season. Since the move to 7A, the Panthers have gone 4-20 in region play.
Glisson will have a little work to bring the program back to its former glory. In 2017 the Panthers set a few team records with most points allowed in a season (460), most losses in a season (10) and most points allowed in a game (62 in a loss to Central-Phenix City). The last region championship for the program was in 1997 when the team was 5A program.
“I think you’ve got to give them something to believe in,” Glisson said. “You’ve got Central down there that has got an awesome football team, one of the best football teams in the state. We’ve got to do a good job on selling our kids on what we’re trying to do and what we’re trying to do at Smiths Station; talk to their parents and let them know what we’re about, let them know we’re about creating young men to better our world.
“That’s what we’re ultimately trying to do, and also become better athletes and better students. If they can play at the next level, then we’re going to do everything we can to help them get there.”