Dave Smith didn't want to wait any longer for a chance to run his own football program.
So after 27 seasons as an assistant football coach at three Lee County high schools, including 19 at Cypress Lake, Smith finally applied for his first head coaching job, the vacancy at East Lee County.
"It was something I always wanted to do but I kept putting it off," he said. "I was satisfied just being a part of it."
Consider Smith one-for-one.
On Friday, East Lee announced the 49-year-old as its choice to replace Scott Jones, who resigned in January after leading the Jaguars to the first district title in the program's history. Some of the credit for that success goes to Smith, the team's defensive coordinator for the past four seasons.
"I just want to try and keep things rolling," Smith said. "Scott laid the foundation; we want to try to continue to build on it."
East Lee principal Brian Mangan said the school's hiring committee interviewed five candidates for the position, but Smith stood out from the group.
"His care and concern for the players was clear to the committee," Mangan said. "He understands what the objectives are here and what I expect out of the program."
Smith said he's hoping to retain the Jaguars' entire assistant coaching staff and doesn't plan to make major changes to the team's existing offensive and defensive schemes.
"Our plan is to keep heading in the same direction," he said.