EVERETT — His name is synonymous with Everett School District athletics, and he may be reaching the age when most start planning retirement. Bob Smithson, however, is not afraid to try something new.
Smithson, 58, has decided to leave his position as Everett School District athletic director to take a similar job with the Oak Harbor School District.
Smithson said it’s time for a change.
“I’ve been in this district for 21 years,” said Smithson, a former Cascade High School baseball coach who took over for Terry Ennis to begin the 2000-01 school year. “Sometimes change is good for a person. … Sometimes you look at everything and you think about it all. Maybe it’s time for a change in my life. I think it’s a good move.”
Smithson, who replaces retiring Oak Harbor AD Jeff Stone, said he looks forward to working in a “single high school scenario.” The Everett School District has three high schools and five middle schools. Smithson said his first task will be to continue the work the Oak Harbor community has done to raise money for a new stadium. The main grandstand at Memorial Stadium in Oak Harbor was condemned before the 2003 football season, and the field is not suitable for postseason play. He said a bond issue is in the works that would yield a new stadium and a remodeling of the high school.
Smithson’s opening will be filled by Robert Polk, who recently resigned his head boys basketball coaching position at Olympic High School after seven seasons. Polk also served as athletic director at the Central Kitsap District school located in Silverdale.
“I’m really excited about the opportunity,” said Polk, a 1984 South Kitsap high school graduate who was an NAIA All-American tackle for the University of Puget Sound football team. “It’s a position I hoped I’d reach at some point in my career.”
Polk will have to deal with a district budget crunch that in recent years has eliminated coaching and maintenance jobs along with middle school programs.
“Every school district in the state is facing challenges in regard to their athletic and activity programs,” Polk said. “As the state and the federal government continue to expect more and more from school districts while not giving them the money to perform, the money has to come from somewhere. Student achievement in the classroom is the most important thing. Unfortunately, the extra-curricular activities sometimes are the first thing to take the shots when it comes to budget cuts.”
Polk will not be the only new face when it comes to district athletics. Jo Levin will replace Roger Haug as Everett High School’s building AD. Jackson Vice Principal Janice Truant, who agreed to be Jackson’s athletic director for one season, will give way to new building AD Mark Kreutz.
Aaron Coe writes for The Herald in Everett.