ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – Troy football will be well represented in the NTL this season.
The NTL is set to feature several new coaches and one team returning to the varsity level. Of the crop of new coaches, three link back to Troy football and current head coach, Jim Smith. New head coaches at Wyalusing, North Penn-Mansfield, and Montgomery are all alums of Troy’s football program.
Rich Rogers will be returning to the NTL and coaching for the first time since the 2006-07 season. Rogers was the head coach for the Trojans, working with Smith in the early 2000’s. In addition, Rogers played for Troy in the 1980s. For the returning head coach, he is excited to compete against so many familiar faces.
“It’s always great to come to an event like this (NTL Media Day) and count the amount of people that I know and have relationships already, said Rogers. I love NTL football whether it’s in Troy, Wyalusing, or wherever it’s coming from. To compete against these guys that I’m friends with, it’s just an awesome opportunity.”
New Montgomery Head Coach, Cory Tice is also connected to both Smith and Rogers. Tice played for the Trojans from 2006 to 2008, beginning his playing career under Rogers. As a coach, Tice most recently served on Smith’s coaching staff at Troy.
Another former player, entering the NTL coaching scene is Jed Wright. Wright will take over head coaching duties at North Penn-Mansfield. The new coach played for Smith’s Trojans from 2010 to 2013. In 2013, Wright quarterbacked for Smith and helped end a 25-year District Title drought, as Troy beat defending champion Danville for the crown. At this year’s NTL Media Day, Smith congratulated his former quarterback on his new position, saying simply, “best quarterback that I’ve ever had.”
For Wright, the District IV Title winning quarterback is excited to stand opposite of a coach who means a lot to him.
“It’s super cool, said Wright. Coach Smith has meant so much to me. It will just be really cool to see him on the other sideline and compete against him.”
With all of the Troy football alumni claiming head coaching positions in the NTL, Smith shared his excitement to see what his former players and coaches will do.
“I’m really excited for them. One of my former coaches is down in Montgomery, I’m excited to see what he’s going to do with that young group, said Smith. One of my former players is at North Penn and one of my former coaches is actually at Wyalusing this year. It’s exciting to see and I wish them well.”
For Smith, the longtime coach is entering his thirteenth season as Troy’s Head Coach. Smith took over for Kevin Schucker in the 2011-12 season. Despite the familiarity in the league, 2023 is all business for Smith and the Trojans, who are looking to build on a 9-3 overall record.
“The kids have worked really hard in the offseason, said Smith. We’re ready to proceed forward this year with a good group of kids and a lot of experience.”