In 12-plus seasons while Brad Smith was the head baseball coach at Tipton-Rosemark Academy, 32 players signed baseball scholarships, the Rebels made the state tournament four times and finished state runner-up three times.

Now somebody else will have to try and continue the tradition.

Smith accepted the head baseball coaching job at Arlington High School on Tuesday after Chris Ring resigned after 14 seasons at the Tigers’ head coach.

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“You know, you hear people talk about the stars lining up for you or the timing being right, however you want to say those things, that’s what happened in this situation,” Smith said. “The job just came available. I had no idea this was going to happen. I got a phone call and they asked to speak to me about the job, so I did. Everything just kind of fell into place … I didn’t go seeking out other employment, but you always listen when somebody wants to talk to you.”

Smith met with the TRA administration yesterday to inform them of his decision. Because of COVID-19 restrictions he was not able to meet with TRA players in person, but he uploaded a video to Google Classroom yesterday that could be viewed by his players. He asked Arlington officials to keep his hiring under wraps until he could do that.

“It’s something you want to do face-to-face with kids you love, but it just wasn’t possible,” Smith said. “I was not going to allow them to find this out by reading it somewhere.”

The Rebels made the DII-A state tournament in 2009, 2012, 2014 and 2018. Smith was 284-181 during his head coaching career at TRA.

Smith began his coaching career as an assistant at Covington from 2000 to 2003. When Charger head coach Allen Pavatte left Covington to become the head coach at Briarcrest, Smith went with him and was his assistant there for another four seasons. Smith took the head coaching job at TRA in the summer of 2007.

Arlington, which plays in Tennessee’s largest public school division, has been one of the best teams in West Tennessee for the better part of a decade. The Tigers have advanced to the state tournament six times since 2008, winning it all in 2012.

“In my opinion, it’s one of the top jobs in the area, and the state as well,” Smith said. “I am very, very excited about getting back to work on the field and getting to meet the players at Arlington.”

Smith said things got very emotional when he told TRA’s administration he was leaving.

“Man, it was a tough decision, 13 years. First and foremost, I love TRA. There’s not a negative thing I can say about the people in that school and community. We did a lot of good things. It was just time for me to take this next step in my life and my family’s life. I just took that leap. We’re going to see how this ride goes … I’m very grateful TRA gave me the opportunity to be a head coach. Yesterday day was really, really tough. The conversations that had to be made did not go without tears.”