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Richard Smith: National Girls Golf Coach of the Year (2017-18)

By Hannah Wishart on April 23, 2019 coaches Print

The NFHS is proud to name Richard Smith of Northern Highlands Regional High School in Allendale, New Jersey as the 2017-18 Girls Golf Coach of the Year!

After leading her cheerleaders to national and world championships in the past TWO years, Coach Sandra Seals can add another line to her resume: NFHS NATIONAL Spirit Coach of the 2017-18 school year! We're proud to honor Coach Seals for her hard work and dedication to her craft, her cheerleaders and her school. Congratulations Coach Seals!

SchoolNorthern Highlands Regional High School

Seasons Coaching: 10 | 2017-18 Win/Loss: 16-2

Coaching Highlights: 


Bergen County Coach of the Year (2015, 18), League Coach of the Year (2014, 18), Bergen Record Team of the Year (2015), Big North Champion (2018), Big North Cup Champion (2017), League Champions (2017), NJSIAA TOC Appearance (2018)

Field Hockey:

Bergen County Coach of the Year (2001, 08, 09, 10, 12), Bergen County Champions (2008, 09, 10, 11, 12, 13), Bergen Record's Team of the Decade (2010), Bergen Record's Team of the Year (2008, 13), nj.com's Team of the Year (2013), NJSIAA NI, GIII Champion (2013, 14), League Champion (2013, 14, 16, 17)


Bergen County Coach of the Year (2013), League Coach of the Year (2012), NJSIAA NI, GIV Champion (2013, 17), Bergen County Tournament Champion (2013), League Champion (2012)


Inducted into State Coaching Hall of Fame (2016)

Philosophy of Athletics


Coach Smith has been coaching high school athletics for the past 23 years. He admits that he's made many mistakes, but has also learned a lot. He has developed into a coach who values an extremely positive experience for the kids over the value of winning. When a team has a common goal and everyone feels invested in the process, success must follow.

While he enjoys winning, he's also learned that it's the positive aspects of competition that make the journey fun. Competition can reveal not only character and self-worth, but also the feelings of inferiority and self-doubt. Coaching these kids through difficult times builds trust and teaches them to search for solutions rather than passing off excuses or blaming others. With this philosophy, coaching has become so much more meaningful to him, and the players appreciate the experience more. They play more confidently and with a much more positive attitude.

Coaches are challenged to create an environment where the players can have fun and feel invested in themselves and in each other's successes. When the spring season rolls around, it is a challenge he accepts with vigor every day!

The experience of athletics includes wins and losses, which are temporary and fleeting. What is permanent are the positive relationships we build with athletes and the way coaches teach them to deal with adversity. Of course, what coaches experience in athletics can often serve as a metaphor for life. By teaching kids to enjoy the ride and be "good sports", coaches instill the skills necessary for them to be successful adults.


See all of the 2017-18 National Coach of the Year recipients by viewing our press release.