Longtime Stratford athletics director Grady Smith will retire at the end of the school year, the school announced Friday.
Smith has been affiliated with the school for 44 years and recently had the school’s basketball gym named in his honor.
The school will promote football head coach Mark Farriba to the athletics director position following Smith’s retirement.
“I think probably the best moment I have is when Stratford plays in a tournament game, a playoff game, to see all the alumni that come back that I’ve coached or either their children now I’ve coached,” Smith told The Telegraph at the gym dedication ceremony. “And just seeing the pride, tradition and excellence we’ve had over the years. There were so many great (seasons), you know, when you start when you’re 22 years old. There are a lot of great memories.”
Smith coached nearly every sport at Stratford at some point, but he was best known for his work on the basketball court.
Smith led the Eagles to three state championships and three runners-up finishes in 20 years as the boys head coach. He also won four state championships as the girls coach for 10 years. In 1978, Smith won both championships on the same night.
Stratford’s gym was renamed “The Grady” on Dec. 6 in honor of his basketball achievements.
Smith also won 10 GISA golf championships in his 34 years as head coach. He won three state championships in slow-pitch softball in 18 years as head coach.
Smith became the school's athletics director in 1977 and watched over the addition of cross country, soccer, softball, swimming, volleyball and wrestling. The school added shooting sports this year and will add lacrosse in 2014.
Smith will continue on at Stratford in a part-time, limited capacity.
“I feel fortunate that we were able to persuade Grady to stay on for a year in a part-time capacity – Stratford Academy is too much in Grady’s blood for him to walk away entirely,” said Bo Veto, Stratford’s head of school. “Grady will take on the well-deserved and well-earned title of Athletic Director Emeritus and will serve in a consulting role to Mark and to our athletic department as we make our transition into GHSA competition.”
The Eagles will move from the GISA to the GHSA next year.
Farriba previously served as the football coach at Prince Avenue Christian, a GHSA school, and will bring experience working with the rules and regulations of the GHSA.
Like Smith, Farriba has a long association with Stratford.
Farriba was a standout baseball and football player at Stratford before heading to Georgia.
He won a state championship as a rookie football head coach at FPD in 1985. He coached at FPD for 11 years but eventually returned to Stratford. He led Stratford to the 2004 state championship before leaving for Prince Avenue in 2007. After leading the Wolverines to the GHSA Class A private school championship game in 2012, Farriba returned to Stratford.
The Eagles lost to Westfield in the GISA championship game in November.