The North Attleborough varsity basketball team has a new coach for the upcoming season.
Assistant Coach Derek Smith was appointed on Nov. 20 to be the next head coach following the resignation of Mike Babul, who was hired in June and left his position on Nov. 19 for a new job at Thayer Academy in Braintree.
“I am just extremely grateful for the opportunity,” Smith said. “I am excited to work with a grade A team. I really love the school and I love the town.”
A graduate of North Attleborough High School’s (NAHS) Class of 2001, Smith played a variety of sports, including basketball, football and baseball. In 2012, Smith became a volunteer basketball coach for NAHS and taught classes for the North Attleborough Youth Basketball program. Smith said youth sports were important to create confidence in children and help them learn teamwork skills.
“I was heavily involved in fostering a great partnership between teams and the coaches,” Smith said. “I’m going to continue that as head coach.”
Smith said he is excited to work as head coach and believes the varsity basketball team can score numerous wins this year. As an assistant coach, Smith said he built a relationship with the team and is confident in their skills as they prepare for their first game on Dec. 12 against Canton High School.
“I like this team,” Smith said. “This is a team that plays extremely hard. It plays the right way and shows improvement throughout the years.”
In an email sent to parents, NAHS Athletic Director Dr. Nick Schlierf said Smith has the qualifications necessary to coach the team after Babul’s departure. Schlierf highlighted Smith’s advocacy for youth sports and his work as an assistant coach among his strengths.
“I met Derek during the varsity head coach interviews back in June and was very impressed with the plan he presented for the Boys Basketball program as a whole and for the Varsity team in particular,” Schlierf wrote. “Derek is dedicated to the success of Big Red Basketball and building a positive, winning culture at the high school.”