GSC’s Smith Seeks “Culture Change” in First Year as Head Coach

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He coached with Rich Rodriguez at WVU and Michigan before becoming the offensive coordinator at Glenville State in 2011.

Now as head coach, Eric Smith is leading a “culture change” in his seventh season with the Pioneers. 

“In the spring, we really drilled these guys to see how tough they were, to make them accountable, and they’re really holding up their end of the deal,” said Smith, who played at West Virginia Tech, a former WVIAC program.

While ramping up spring practices, Smith also wanted to instill specific values in his players.  

“Those three words right there – attitude, effort and accountability – and even competition, those things right there, we’re gonna live by,” said Smith

After finishing 5-6 overall last season, returning players said a change is needed.

“We lost a bunch of games my freshman year and last year. We’d lose games from dumb penalties, getting a personal foul or jumping offside,” said Austin Ratliff, a junior wide receiver. “That’s one thing he hit right off the bat. When he first got there, he was saying, ‘we’re going to change everybody’s attitude.’ I think that’s the way it needs to be done. That’s how you’re going to hold everyone accountable.” 

As for personnel, the Pioneers return several key players. Dante Roberts is back for his senior year, after throwing for nearly 3,000 yards last fall. Top targets D.J. Williams and Ratliff, a Glenville native, will lead his receiving corps. 

While Smith said the defense also looks strong, the offensive line is his greatest area of concern as camp approaches, with only two starters returning. Smith hopes his first batch of recruits will be ready to make an immediate impact.

“Things are looking good. Not bare,” said Smith. “You know, you don’t have your nine or ten returning starters, but you know there’s some pretty good ones there. We’re expecting a lot of freshmen to come in and contribute right away.”

Glenville opens with UVa-Wise at home Aug. 31.

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