Tuesday, February 7, 2023
Feb. 7, 2023

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Brett Smedley resigns as head coach of Columbia River football

The River grad wanted to focus more time on his young family

By , Columbian Assistant Sports Editor

Brett Smedley has resigned after four seasons as the head football coach at Columbia River, stepping away from a position he called his “dream job.”

“My family is the No. 1 priority, and I need to focus on building those relationships,” Smedley said. “When I took the job, it was never the plan to go four years and then that’s it. But sometimes life happens and you have to make a decision that is best for you and your family. I’ve been thinking about this for some time. It just kind of felt that making this decision in January was best, instead of in March and April when it would be harder to find replacement.”

Smedley, a 2003 graduate of Columbia River High School where he starred under legendary coach John O’Rourke, returned to River in 2016 after a stint as the head coach at Coupeville High School.

After serving three seasons as River’s defensive coordinator, he took over as head coach from Christian Swain in 2019. The Rapids were 13-21 in Smedley’s four seasons, reaching the postseason in 2019 and 2021.

Smedley, 37, said he notified his players of his decision on Monday.

“You know, there’s no book on how to go about doing that,” Smedley said. “It was hard, but I let them know my reasons, and then my thought was to step back and let them process that. But I did tell them about how much they meant to me. And I told them I felt like I was leaving the program in a good place, and that was all because of them.”

During his four years as head coach, Smedley had to juggle coaching with teaching and  family life. His wife, Breanne Smedley, is the head volleyball coach at River, and the couple has a four-year-old daughter and a one-year-old son.

Brett Smedley will continue to work as a physical education teacher at River and serve as an assistant coach in track and field. He also said he expects to continue to support the football program in other ways than coaching.

Because that’s how it’s done at River, he said.

“I knew that the football program, even back to my days playing at River, that the idea of family was a huge emphasis,” he said. “And it was the case again when I returned at defensive coordinator and a head coach. And that’s really about the whole Columbia River community and not just football by itself.

“I think with the kids we have in this program and the support that we’ve received from the community, that this is a great opportunity for someone to step into. And I’m looking forward to seeing where the program goes from here.”