Longtime CHS football assistants named head coaches at J.Z. George

By CLAY MCFERRIN,

Two longtime Charleston High School football coaching assistants are leaving the Tigers program.

Rusty Smith is exiting to become the new head football coach at J.Z. George High School in North Carrollton.

Smith, 34, has 10 years of coaching experience at CHS, including as special teams coordinator and strength coach for the varsity squad and as head coach of the junior varsity unit.

He also taught 8½ years in Charleston, including seven as science instructor and the last two in metal trades.

Michael “Slick” Hargett, 54, revealed in late May that he had resigned his posts at CHS.  In addition to serving as athletic director of the East Tallahatchie School District, Hargett was CHS head baseball coach and assistant football coach for 10 years.

He will be joining Smith at J.Z. George, where Hargett will be the new head baseball coach for the Jaguars.

In a statement to The Sun-Sentinel, Smith said, “It has  been my dream since Day 1 to be a head coach. I have finally been given the opportunity to move up the ladder.

“This is a bittersweet moment for me because I hate to leave the people I care about behind, but I am excited about a new opportunity to better myself,” he added.

“To all my players I have ever coached, it has been an absolute honor. I have learned as much from y’all as I hope y’all have learned from me...,” Smith continued. 

“Only the players and the coaches understand the kind of blood, sweat and tears we put into the football program at Charleston. It is truly a brotherhood and a bond that will never be broken, no matter where anyone of us ends up.”

Smith concluded, “To my former players and students, I love and care about every last one of you and don’t let anybody tell you different. I love the city of Charleston and the people in it.  It will always be my home.”

In late April, CHS head coach Scott Martin, 53, told The Sun-Sentinel that he was leaving. Martin had led the varsity Tigers since 2013, guiding the team to a cumulative regular-season and post-season record of 80-23, five region championships, three north half titles and three state championship games.

Martin also was head coach of the boys powerlifting squad and taught geometry and compensatory math.