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Corbin Smith dips into past to restore McClintock pride

By Richard Obert, The Republic |, 04/26/17, 6:57PM MST


McClintock coach Corbin Smith talks about having his players locked in during spring football as the new coaches try to bring back the school's lost football glory on Wednesday.

Art Greathouse, part of the backfield that helped make Tempe McClintock one of the greatest football teams in the state in the mid-1980s, returned to his alma mater on Wednesday.

New coach Corbin Smith, working to return a history that was lost somewhere between Karl Kiefer and the line of coaches that came after him in 1990, asked Greathouse to talk about what made McClintock great.

It started with Kiefer and discipline.

"I mentioned bringing back the discipline," said Greathouse, who was recruited out of high school by Smith's dad, Larry Smith, to play football at the University of Arizona. "It was great to see the kids had great eye contact and respect. The kids didn't have their sleeves rolled up and shirts up to here and all that flashy stuff.

"These are a good group of kids. I'm proud and excited to see what they have to work with."

It's going to take a lot of work.

Coaches who came from great programs haven't been able to return to the McClintock football machine of the 1970s and '80s that Kiefer churned out. The school's last state championship came in 1989 when Kiefer was at the end of his McClintock career, before starting up Phoenix Mountain Pointe's program.

McClintock went 5-15 the last two years under Spencer Waggoner, who had come from a strong program at Chandler, where he was an assistant.

Matt Lewis was part of three state championships at Scottsdale Saguaro, where he was offensive coordinator. But that didn't translate into consistent success at McClintock, where he has a losing record in four years, before Waggoner took over.

"We're out here teaching and trying to build morale, and instill some accountability," said Smith, who was an offensive coordinator at Gilbert Mesquite two seasons ago. "We want to make sure these guy know they can win."

This is Smith's first head coaching job, but he has grown up with football. His dad led Arizona, Missouri and USC to success. Larry Smith died in 2008 at 68.

Smith learned to surround himself with good people.

He talks to Kiefer frequently, always picking his brain.

He welcomed Zach Griffin as his defensive coordinator. Griffin came over from Mountain Pointe, where he was defensive coordinator the past four years, including the Pride's first unbeaten, state championship season in 2013.

Griffin said he let Mountain Pointe coach Norris Vaughan know in December that he needed a change.

"We want to bring tradition back," said McClintock

"We want to bring tradition back," said McClintock linebacker Alay'jon Tamplin. (Photo: David Kadlubowski/azcentral sports)