Dan Smith, left, has stepped down as head coach of the Ballenas Whalers football program. (PQB News file photo)

Dan Smith, left, has stepped down as head coach of the Ballenas Whalers football program. (PQB News file photo)

Dan Smith stepping down as head coach of Ballenas Whalers football program

Jeremy Conn to take over as new team leader

Dan Smith has decided to step down as head coach of the Ballenas Whalers football program.

The BC Football Hall of Famer has been a staunch supporter and a driving force of the Whalers football program. He has been involved in Whalers football for 20 years.

Smith said he intended to be head coach for only three years but stayed for five. He feels it’s the right time for him to pass the torch to assistant Jeremy Conn.

“Jeremy is very organized and detailed kind of person,” said Smith. “I feel confident that he will continue the things I have achieved and established. I know he will also incorporate his own ideas and concepts.”

While Smith is stepping aside, he is not completely leaving the Whalers. As a legendary quarterback of the UBC Thunderbirds while in university, Smith said his love for football will never wane. He will still be involved with the Whalers and will help quarterbacks and serve as a co-offensive co-ordinator. He will also play a role in encouraging more parents to commit to the program.

Smith said the success of the Whalers program is a collaboration involving all the coaches, players, parents and volunteers. He thanked the many people who supported him and the program and for helping see his ideas and wishes come to fruition. Among the many goals that came to fruition that Smith was happy about is a capital project to replace outdated equipment, the creation of a secure storage equipment and a meeting room at Winchelsea School.

Smith was also proud to see the establishment of a football class within the school so players and students can get credit towards graduation. He indicated they get the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of football and other field of expertise such as being a team manager, sport psychology and many others.

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“Suffice it to say that none of these important initiatives could have been accomplished without leaders in our school and our community buying in the vision of growing the Whalers football program rather than the status quo,” said Smith.

Conn, also a teacher at Ballenas, looks forward to his new role with the Whalers.

“I’ve been coaching with Dan for 14 years here at Ballenas and I’ve learned more from him about coaching football than anyone,” said Conn. “It’s been a real pleasure and I look forward to continue to work with him.”

Conn aims to build on the momentum of the last five years with Smith as the head coach.

“Everyone can expect to see our great Whaler traditions continuing and my goal is to help refine and define things so we can execute to the best our ability and the players can fly around and have fun,” said Conn. “We have to keep learning how to adapt to this ever-changing world and I’m going to be focused on how our football program can do that by helping our young men play football while also getting them ready to be positive contributors to the community.”

Michael.Briones@pqbnews.com

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