Hialeah High has a new football coach -- it's former football coach.
Steve Smith, who spent two years coaching the T-Breds back in 2004 and 2005, has left Coral Park after one season to replace the coach who replaced him at Hialeah nine years ago, Mark Berman.
Smith, who has a career 31-38 record with a two-year pit-stop at Killian included, accepted the job last Thursday according to athletic director Len Sanders. Smith went 1-9 at Coral Park last year.
Berman, 52, went 46-34 during his nine years on the job at Hileah and led the T-Breds to the playoffs twice in 2011 and 2013. He's stepping aside from football for a year to deal with health issues.
"Overall for the kids it’s going to be better," Sanders said of bringing Smith back. "He’s a strict disciplinarian and I think that's what we need right now. We’ve been more talented with the kids with Mr. Berman, but I don’t think the kids have achieved as much as they could have. We had 29 seniors a couple years ago and big group of about 19 went to college. And we went 6-5. I think a lot of it was discipline. The players have no idea what they are in for.
"[San Diego Chargers defensive lineman and former Hialeah High star] Corey Liuget is a big backer of Coach Smith. He played three years for him here. Once you go to the NFL you see how things are different, how you need that discipline. He really appreciates Coach Smith. Same with [Dolphins running back] Lamar Miller over at Killian, who played for Smith too."
Sanders said Liuget has pledged upwards of $30,000 to help renovate Hialeah's weight room. There's no timetable yet as to when the fixes will take place.
As for Berman, he remains a teacher at Hialeah. He said his plan is to get back to coaching in a year. He said he had a health scare during the middle of last season and that's when he decided he needed a break from coaching.
“Honestly, I’m going crazy right now," Berman said of being away from the game. "It’s something that for 31 years that’s all I’ve ever done. It’s something new. But I have four grandchildren and I spend a lot of time with them. So that's something I'm looking forward to.”
The T-Breds had 20 seniors sign with Football Bowl Subdivision programs during Berman's tenure including six in 2014.
"Coach Berman did a good job with that," Sanders said. "Whether we win games, I don’t really care. As long as the players learn to become young men and disciplined. Getting them in school and prepared for what's ahead, that's what's important."
U-SCHOOL, CHAMINADE LOOKING FOR COACHES
According to classifieds placed on the FHSAA's website earlier this week, former Broward County private school powers and state champions Chaminade-Madonna Prep and University School are looking for head coaches.
Marcelo Rodriguez, still listed as the athletic director at Chaminade, went 7-12 in two years as the head coach. Rodriguez's son, Marcelo, who has quarterbacked the Lions each of the last two seasons and is a Class of 2017 prospect, has transferred to Miami High.
University School, meanwhile, is looking for its second head coach in less than 12 months. The school hired Brandon Harris a year ago to replace Roger Harriott, who left to become an assistant coach at FAU after leading the Suns to the Class 3A state title in 2012. Harris went 3-7 this past season and the Suns missed the playoffs.
Phone calls to athletic directors at both schools and coaches were not immediately returned.
OPENINGS STILL AVAILABLE
Mater Academy, Coral Park, Westland Hialeah and Hialeah Champagnat are among the schools still searching for head coaches in Miami-Dade County.
National powerhouse St. Thomas Aquinas remains among a handful of schools in Broward still looking to fill vacancies.
Monarch coach Calvin Davis stepped down earlier this week. The Knights went 9-2 last season and won their district for their first time ever. Davis, 36, was 26-8 in four seasons at Monarch.