First-year coach Kevin Smith leads Verbum Dei to 3-0 record

Verbum Dei first-year football coach Kevin Smith.
(Verbum Dei instagram)

For 18 years, Kevin Smith served as an assistant football coach at such high schools as Long Beach Poly, St. Anthony and Narbonne. Then last June, Verbum Dei offered him the job as head coach. It was last minute with no guarantee of immediate success. But Smith has learned plenty from the head coaches he trained under and look what’s happened at Verbum Dei: The team is off to a 3-0 start.

The last time Verbum Dei had a full season was 2019, when the team went 2-8. The school decided not to field a football team last spring.

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Smith said experience at key positions has helped with the transition, along with the play of senior running back Semaj Harris, who rushed for 174 yards against Hawthorne, 328 yards against Morningside and 251 yards against Maranatha.


But it’s great to see a longtime assistant get his chance to be a head coach and reward those who believed in him. Smith played football at L.A. Valley College for Chuck Ferrero and Jim Fenwick, so he knows his stuff. He owns a trucking company and also has been a substitute teacher.

“We’re old school,” he said of Verbum Dei’s rushing attack.

Verbum Dei is known for its basketball tradition, but at least in the early season, football deserves the spotlight.