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Girls' Soccer: Oldham County promotes Libbey Smith as head coach

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By Elliott Pratt

Oldham County didn’t have to go far to look for its next girls soccer coach. When athletics director Matt Jacobson introduced the new coach to the team Thursday afternoon, it wasn’t someone who really needed an introduction.

Lady Colonel assistant Libbey Smith has been named the head coach of the Oldham County girls’ soccer team, replacing former coach of 24 years Dan Schulz.

“I can’t wait to join in a new role and take this program to another level and work with these kids,” Smith said. “It was good to be able to tell (the team), which made them pretty excited and obviously made me feel good that they were happy to have me.”

Smith, 29, graduated from South Oldham High School in 2004 and was an assistant for the Lady Dragons under former coach Cy Tucker from 2011 to 2014.

"Cy was a really big influence because he wasn’t the kind of person and coach who just told you things," Smith said. "When I was a player if something went wrong and you came off the field at halftime, he didn’t say, ‘this is what you did wrong and this is how you fix it.’ He’d say, ‘What happened?’ And he made you tell him and he’d ask what you do to fix it. He really built your knowledge of the game. When I became a coach, it built that confidence factor."

When Tucker retired after South’s seventh state championship in 2014, Smith joined the Lady Colonels team under Schulz.

Smith, who says she’s been prepared for a head coaching role for some time, took advantage of a heavily involved assistant role last year at OC while Schulz anticipated his resignation at season’s end.

Smith acted as head coach during the District 29 Tournament in Schulz’s brief absence. OC defeated North Oldham in the semifinals before falling to South in the district final.

“He definitely gave me a lot of opportunities that I don’t think a lot of other assistants get,” Smith said. “He knew within a year or two he was going to retire and hoped I would be able to stay on. Even though it’s not his decision, he definitely gave me a great recommendation.

“I think I got a chance to do a lot of things and have more say than your typical assistant. I feel like I’ve got a lot of experience in that way.”

Oldham County finished the year 16-8 and lost to Simon Kenton in penalty kicks in the Region 8 Title game.

Smith will be the second girls’ soccer coach in Oldham County history after Schulz started the program in 1993.

In 24 years as its coach, Schulz compiled a 315-167-26 record as head coach.

“They’re definitely big shoes,” Smith said. “It’s really crazy to think about taking over for someone who has been the only coach at a program. I hope that I can step in and it be a seamless transition and continue what he started here.”

Outside of working as an assistant at South Oldham and Oldham County, Smith currently teaches English at South Oldham Middle School.

Smith’s hire means all three high school girls’ soccer teams in the county have new coaches in the last two seasons.

Jair Trivino was hired at North Oldham after Ann Revell resigned in November after 13 years as coach.

Kenny Burke replaced Tucker at South Oldham when he retired in 2014.

Jacobson told the Era in December that finding a coach who could commit to Oldham County for “a long extended period of time” was important to maintaining a winning tradition in Buckner.

He has no doubt that Smith is the right fit.

“We were obviously impressed with Libbey in the job she did as an assistant coach here, but at the same time we wanted to make sure we hired the right person for the next 10 years and more,” Jacobson said. “Any time you’re hiring a position like that with the popularity of the sport out here, it’s an important position and we wanted to make sure we had the right person.”

“A lot of the girls knew her and a lot of them were in support of her and loved the job she did as a JV coach and assistant coach last year… Ultimately, her resume and working at the South Oldham program and playing there, her qualities were above and beyond being here as an assistant helped her stand out above the other candidates.”

The Lady Colonels will return its top three goal scorers from last year with Olivia Stanley (21 goals), Sabryn Kapp (12) and Tristan Whalen (11).

“That’s one of my favorite things,” Smith said. “The talent is here right now. If we can quickly take advantage of that, it’s there to really be a great team and have some great success. Hopefully we can pull it all together and do that.”

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