For decades, the sidelines at have belonged to one man—head football coach, .
He built a storied and winning tradition at the Shelby Township school since the program’s inception, and he shaped the Eagles into one of the state’s elite teams.
In 2012, however, the sidelines will belong to another man—new Ike coach Chris Smith.
The longtime Eagles’ assistant coach took over the reins in 2012 and did it with a load of enthusiasm.
“I am very excited about the opportunity,” Smith said. “This is a premier program, in a great school, with great people, in a great community. How can I not be excited about that?”
To the Ike fans in the community, Smith has been a familiar face for the past 15 years, serving as an assistant on the team before being slotted into the top position just days ago.
“I’ve really been hoping this day would come,” the new coach said. “And I’m hoping to continue the tradition that Coach Lantzy built here, as well as put my own stamp on the program too.”
Smith said there won’t be any big changes to the philosophy on the field, although some changes are coming, albeit subtle ones.
“What Coach Lantzy did here worked,” Smith said. “There isn’t any reason to make any big changes to that at all. Now, there will be some things that might look a little different to fans, but nothing major.”
Although Smith will wear the head coach hat, he still plans to work with the defense in close to the same way he has for years.
“Of course, I’ll still be involved with the defense,” Smith said. “It’s what I’ve done for a long time. It’s what I played and coached since coming here. But, as the head coach I’ll have my say in the offense and special team as well. But, I’ve got a great group of coaches here that know what they’re doing and are very good at what they do.”
The changing of the guard at Ike is bittersweet for a community that, in many cases, had generations of young men play for Lantzy.
That said, Smith brings an enthusiasm and know-how to the team that seems to be a natural progression to a program that has set the standard in Macomb County for decades.
The Eagles begin practice in August. To view a recap of the Eisenhower Football team's season, click here.