Former Virginia Tech player, U.Va. assistant Terry Smith is Jamestown’s new football coach as Thad Wheeler resigns
The revolving door that is the Jamestown High football head coaching job continues to spin. Will Terry Smith be the man to slow it?
Smith, a former Virginia Tech player and University of Virginia assistant coach with head coaching experience at three state high schools, was announced this week as the seventh head coach at Jamestown in the past 10 years. He replaces Thad Wheeler, who resigned after one season.
Jamestown finished 2-3 in the truncated spring season as participation numbers increased to more than 50 and the team fielded its most competitive defense in years. It’s unclear why Wheeler resigned recently as neither he nor Jamestown athletic director Ken Edwards — who said the coach departed voluntarily — chose to comment.
Edwards and Jamestown administration moved quickly to fill the position, hiring Smith, 53, who has served as defensive coordinator the past four seasons at Nottoway High in Crewe. Nottoway reached the Class 2 Region A semifinals in April, losing to Poquoson 16-12.
Smith was head coach for a total of nine seasons at Jefferson Forest, Virginia High of Bristol and Tazewell with a record of 39-45. He was defensive coordinator on the Nottoway team that won a state title in 1998.
“I like taking programs and building them,” Smith said. “That’s what I’ve done in the past at the places I’ve been.
“I’ve been interested in the Williamsburg area and the Bay Rivers District is probably the best in the state in our division, so I’m excited to be coaching this caliber of competition and to lead this team.”
Smith was part of Frank Beamer’s first recruiting class at Virginia Tech in 1987 and played free safety for the Hokies from 1987-90, graduating in 1991. He later assisted on the staffs of George Welsh and Al Groh at Virginia, teaming with current William & Mary coach Mike London to coach the Cavaliers’ defensive tackles.
Smith said he and London remain friends and that the W&M coach recommended him for the Jamestown job. Smith’s other tie to the area is that he is a second cousin to Hampton High coach Mike Smith, whose 497 wins are second nationally among high school coaches.
As a player at Abingdon High, he competed against teams coached at Virginia High by Paul Wheeler, Thad’s father, who went on to guide Lafayette to the 2001 Class 4 state title.
“I feel like I know the competition in this area very well, and it’s tough,” Smith said. “From (Tabb’s) Charlie Hovis (who won three state titles) to Paul Wheeler’s and Andy Linn’s teams at Lafayette, there’s a great history.”
Marty O’Brien, 757-247-4963