Max Smith is returning to Pinellas County, this time as head coach at Boca Ciega. Smith, 28, spent 2011-12 as Dunedin coach before leaving last spring to become a graduate assistant at the University of Toledo.
Smith met with Boca Ciega principal Michael Vigue on Monday and flew back to Toledo on Tuesday morning. He said he plans on moving to St. Petersburg by Feb. 1 and begin teaching at the school as a long-term substitute shortly afterward.
Smith was chosen from more than 80 applicants. The other two finalists were Shane Wheeler (who was a finalist for the Gibbs job last year) and Lance Martin (current head coach at Marathon High).
“We’ve been wanting to get back to the area,’’ said Smith, who is married with two small children. “ Life as a graduate assistant is rather tough, especially when you have two young children like we do. I’m very excited. I’m a little upset that I can’t start today.’’
Smith was 10-10 in his two seasons with the Falcons. In 2012 they were 6-4, the first winning season at the school since 2008.
He left Dunedin during the summer to take the graduate assistant job in Toledo. He worked with receivers under head coach Matt Campbell, who was Smith’s offensive coordinator when he played at Mount Union in Ohio.
He takes over a Boca Ciega team that was 3-7 last season under Antez Brinson. Brinson resigned in December after three seasons.
“We had the same situation at Dunedin, so I’ve done this before,’’ Smith said. “We’ve got a chance to get a lot better with some hard work. I can’t wait to get started.’’
Smith was already familiar with Vigue. Vigue was at Pinellas Park when Smith was hired by Kenny Crawford to be an assistant coach in 2010.
“Max has what we were looking for,’’ Vigue said. “He’s energetic, very detail oriented, he goes 100 percent all the time. And he made the commitment to fly down here for a day when there was no guarantee he would get the job. That’s a big expense for somebody in his situation. I think that said a lot.’’