Tigers return to practice, interim named day after firing of Smith

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By: Kevin Keane, Ryan Kelly | WCTV Eyewitness Sports
August 9, 2019

MONTICELLO, Fla. (WCTV) -- The Jefferson County Tigers returned to the practice field on Friday with an interim coach just one day after the firing of head coach Leroy Smith.

Students, parents and many others are still wondering what caused Smith's firing while administrators are hoping to move forward with the football season.

Jefferson County named Rodell Thomas the interim head coach on Friday, who also serves as the dean at the school.

Previously the head coach at Robert F. Munroe, he's now tasked with getting the Tigers' focus on a season that begins in two weeks; but it may prove difficult.

Smith's dismissal remains fresh on the players' minds.

Jefferson County Athletic Director Terry Walker said Friday both the former coach, and the players on the team, have Smith's full support.

"We're really hurt," Walker said. "The kids are hurt emotionally so now we're trying to gather the kids back together and let them understand that we still support them and we support, hope and pray that Coach Leroy left them with greatness because he has greatness in him and so we wish him nothing but the best.

"The main thing is it shows the young men that we care. We love them. We don't want to talk this thing we want to walk this thing and that's why we're walking every step of the way," Walker continued. "We got people calling, a lot of people that's actually from here. The community's pouring out and they really want to be here to support and the kids see that and that's why we're here."

Jefferson County opens their season at home against JPII on Friday, August 23.

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