Jeff Smith will begin serving as Plano ISD’s newest athletic director after approval by the PISD board of trustees at a meeting Feb. 4.

“Thank you so much for trusting me and my family to step into this role,” Smith said at the meeting.

Smith most recently served as athletic director with Prosper ISD, where he saw two district championships and 64 Academic All-State Athletes, according to a press release Feb. 4.

Before his time at Prosper ISD, Smith was head football coach and athletic coordinator at McKinney High School in McKinney ISD, the release said. Smith also has coaching experience with various other boys and girls sports and previously worked with Plano Senior High School.

“[It] just feels really great to be back home,” Smith said. “[My family is] excited to work alongside this community, you leaders [board members], our coaches, our parents, our student-athletes—all of our students—and just excited to work together to do something really, really special.”

The search for a new athletic director began after the retirement of Gerald Brence, who served as the head coach of the Plano Senior High School football team from 1992-2007 and athletic director from 2007 until December 2019.

Under Brence’s lead, the Plano Senior Wildcats won a state championship title in 1994 and made five trips to the state quarterfinals, making his one of the most winning coaches in Plano Senior High’s history, according to state Rep. Van Taylor, R-Plano, who spoke of Brence in the House chamber Dec. 4.

The selection process for Smith’s position included opportunities for input from the community, the release said. Nearly 300 parents, staff members and other community members gave feedback for the search.

“We wanted to extend a warm welcome to you and welcome you to the family,” Superintendent Sara Bonser said at the meeting. “We know that we've put a big job on you. You're accepting a big responsibility and leading in this district, and we're excited to have you on the team, and we're here to support you.”