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Mountain Crest did not have to go very far to find a new boys basketball coach.

He was already on the bench.

Chandler Smith was recently named the head coach for the Mustang boys. Kevin Andersen, who is also the athletic director at the Hyrum high school, stepped down following the 2020-21 season boys basketball season as the coach to focus fully on AD duties. Smith has been an assistant at Mountain Crest the past three years, but has deep roots at the school.

“We are excited to announce Chandler Smith is our new boys basketball coach,” Andersen said.

Smith is a 2009 graduate of MC and joked he “can’t get away from the place.” The four-sport athlete earned many accolades as a Mustang and hopes to use his experiences to help build the program.

“My biggest goal is to help the kids learn the game and then have a good, positive high school experience,” Smith said. “... It’s been tough out here since the schools split (when Ridgeline was opened). But there are a lot of sports at Mountain Crest that are doing well. The big thing I want to do is get the kids coming up to play on more competitive teams from the south. That will build up the future of the program.”

Smith pointed out there is a freshman group that Andersen has coached since they were fourth-graders and expects them to be a big help to the MC program the next three years.

“Kevin has been able to keep them together and hasn’t lost them to other club teams,” Smith said. “That will be a big advantage.”

The 29-year-old Cache Valley native teaches social studies at Mountain Crest and has been coaching the boys golf team the past five years. He has also been an assistant coach with the baseball program.

Smith will be giving up the coaching duties of the golf team as he is already busy with helping his wife with three young children (a son and two daughters) all under the age of six. Smith is excited for the opportunity to be in charge of the boys basketball team.

“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do,” Smith said. “It’s been in my family. I’ve always wanted to coach and teach.”

Will he be running a specific system?

“High school is hard because you don’t really have a set system, because you don’t always have the kids that fit it,” Smith said. “I just want to help the kids learn the game. Based on their strengths, adapt my coaching to their strengths to put them in the best situation possible. It will depend on the personnel. If we don’t have a lot of big guys, we are definitely not going to jam it down in the post every time.”

Mountain Crest went 2-19 last season.

Smith played basketball at Snow College for a year. After getting married, hurting his back and then expecting their first child, the Smith family moved back to Cache Valley where he finished up his degree at Utah State. He taught at Fast Forward Charter High School for a year before getting hired at Mountain Crest.

Before heading to Snow, Smith played football, golf, basketball and baseball for the Mustangs. He earned all-state honors in basketball and baseball.

In 2009, when the Mustangs won the baseball state championship, he was the state tournament MVP and hit a three-run homer in the 6-5 victory over Dixie in the 4A title game.

“Baseball and basketball were definitely my better sports,” Smith said.

Shawn Harrison is the sports editor at The Herald Journal. He can be reached at sharrison@hjnews.com or 435-792-7233.

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