High School Football

Prep notebook: Smith adds golf coach to list of jobs at Conway

Ashley Smith, the voice of Conway High School football, is taking over as the boys and girls golf coach.
Ashley Smith, the voice of Conway High School football, is taking over as the boys and girls golf coach. Courtesy of conwaysportsradio.com

Ashley Smith continues to add more responsibility at Conway.

That’s just the way he likes it.

Already known as the radio voice of the Tigers’ football team, Smith was instrumental in the building of the school’s athletics website that, among other things, lays out schedules for various teams and tracks most of the football records and accomplishments. Now, Smith will also be the boys and girls golf coach.

“It was an opportunity for me to be a head coach,” Smith said. “I coached middle school football last year. It just seemed right.”

He’ll be following in his father’s footsteps.

Bill Smith was the head golf coach and an assistant with the football program from 1983-1990. Ashley Smith graduated from the school in 1988, initially went to North Greenville to play football and then transferred to Coastal Carolina, where he graduated.

He’s worked for the city and for Horry County Schools as the technology teacher at Conway Elementary. And he’s no stranger to the game of golf, either.

For the last six years, Smith has served as the director of the Horry County chapter of the South Carolina Junior Golf Association. He recently orchestrated a tie-in with Shaftesbury Glen Golf and Fish Club and intends to continue that merger with the Conway High golf teams.

In his words, it could make the team more attractive to younger players and help boost numbers desperately needed to compete with the area’s best golf programs. The Tigers’ boys team hasn’t been to the state teams finals since the early 1990s. The girls squad has never qualified since the sport became sanctioned in 1999.

“At the first girls meeting, we had four show up, and they were all juniors,” Smith said. “You need to find a way to replenish that. We’re going to build that program up – that’s the goal.”

In case his multiple roles didn’t put enough on his plate, Smith also intends to run for Conway City Council in November. He has a tourism-heavy platform, one that no doubt could feed off his golf ties.

“It’s something I’ve wanted to do since I was a kid,” Smith said. “I like to stay busy. This is another way to serve my city.”

Around high school football

The final players across the country who qualified for Nike’s elite The Opening Finals camp in Oregon next month have been added to the roster.

Conway’s Bryan Edwards will be one of just two rising seniors from South Carolina on the team rosters, which are being released this week. Edwards qualified via the Charlotte, N.C., regional that took place May 9.

The University of South Carolina commit will compete with 165 others players from across the country in Eugene, Ore., July 7-10.

On Saturday, Myrtle Beach’s Drayton Arnold was rated by the recruiting service Scout as the top quarterback in the state. Arnold, who is verbally committed to Old Dominion, threw for 2,884 yards and 37 touchdowns in 10 1/2 games last fall after leading Myrtle Beach to a state championship in 2013.

Coach Mickey Wilson’s team is considered one of the early favorites to win the Class AAA title this coming season.

College signing

Socastee softball player Savannah Talley has signed to continue her career at NCAA Division II Francis Marion.

Talley, who graduated last month, played second base and pitched for the Braves. She batted .298 this spring with four doubles, three triples, a home run and seven RBIs while also recording a fielding percentage of .955.

As a sophomore, Talley was a prime piece of the team that won the Region VII-AAA title and advanced to the Lower State tournament for the first time since 2007.

She’ll join former Socastee teammate Madison Lowe-Garnder on the Patriots’ roster. Aynor’s Shelby Cox also signed with Francis Marion in November.

That’s a wrap

On Saturday, the final South Carolina High School League action of the 2014-2015 season will take place with the Clash of the Carolinas boys and girls soccer all-star games.

St. James senior forward Quadarius Grate was the lone area player selected for either game, to be played at Blackbaud Stadium on Daniel Island outside Charleston.

The girls contest will begin at noon, and the boys game will follow at approximately 2:15 p.m. Tickets for the games are $10, and each ticket includes admission to Saturday night’s Charleston Battery game against the Harrisburg City Islanders.

The 2015-2016 academic calendar then begins July 1.

Contact IAN GUERIN at ian@ianguerin.com.