Chilliwack’s high school football scene is about to get more crowded.
Sardis secondary school is applying to B.C. High School Football for a new program that would debut in the fall of 2018.
Two men familiar to GW Graham fans are leading the charge.
Adam Smith, head coach of the Grizzlies last year, has resigned along with Suresh Parray.
Smith has been associated with the GW Graham program from day one. He served as offensive coordinator on the junior varsity team that beat the Ballenas Whalers 23-20 to claim the 2013 provincial championship.
It was the first B.C. title for the school in any sport.
Smith was the head coach the following year as GWG repeated with a win over the Abbotsford Panthers.
A letter co-crafted by GWG athletic director Jake Mouritzen, GWG principal Helen Plummer and Sardis principal Dan Heisler was emailed to the school’s football families Wednesday afternoon explaining his departure.
“As experienced at GW Graham middle-secondary, starting a new football program is a labour intensive process that requires a full time commitment and a full year of planning,” the letter says. “Coaching high school football demands a full time commitment and forward planning for future development.
“Due to this new commitment, Coach Smith and Coach Parray are respectfully resigning from their coaching duties at GWG in order to devote themselves to starting the new football program at Sardis secondary.”
Into GWG’s coaching void steps another familiar face.
Laurie Smith guided the Grizzlies into existence in 2012 and was the head coach of the 2013 AA provincial champs.
When the school brought its senior varsity team online in 2014, he took the reigns and left the junior varsity team in Adam Smith’s hands.
He stepped away after coaching GWG to a provincial semi-final berth in 2015 and returns now along with Luke Acheson, who coached the Grizzlies from 2012-15. Acheson will serve as offensive coordinator.
Though the addition of a second high school team in Chilliwack looms as a major threat to the powerhouse that both Smiths helped build at GW Graham, the letter expressed hope that this will be a good thing.
“GW Graham Middle Secondary is supportive of the Sardis football application and look forward to having a second football program in the community of Chilliwack.”