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Brandan Smith is new head football coach at Avon High

Brandan Smith, who has been an assistant coach under Jeff Redman for the past four years, has been named the new head coach of the Avon High football program.

Brandan Smith has been named as the new football coach at Avon High. according to Tim Filon, the athletic director at AHS. Smith met with the Falcon players earlier this month before final exams began.

Smith replaces Jeff Redman, the veteran coach who completed a second four-year stint with the Falcons and resigned this spring.

Redman led the Falcons (7-3, 6-0 CCC Tier 4) to the CCC Tier 4 divisional championship this past fall and into the CIAC Class M playoffs for the first time since 2012.

“Jeff doesn’t want to a big deal made of him stepping down. It was just time to do so,” Filon said.

A physical education teacher in the school, Redman was hired prior to the 2018 season when the program was on shaky footing. Only 18 players showed up for the first practice in August 2018. Smith was part of the coaching staff on that hot summer day and has been the offensive coordinator since that time.

“I have too much care for the kids and the game (of football) to let (this program) die,” Redman told the Collinsville Press in June 2019. “I wish there was some new, young coach here to turn this around but there isn’t. So, this is what we will do.”

“It’s all about (the players),” Redman said. “It’s not about me at all.”

The Falcons went 2-8 in 2018 and 2019 before sitting out a year in 2020 – along with every other Connecticut high school program due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021, the Falcons missed the first three weeks of the season due to positive cases of COVID-19 among the team.

But deploying the single-wing offense, Falcons QB Tabor Engle ran for 1,769 yards, the fourth highest number of rushing yards for an individual in the state as reported to Max Preps, along with 17 touchdowns. Avon went 7-2 and 6-0 to win their first CCC division title since 2015.

The program is healthy again with a full varsity and junior varsity squad. And that new young coach – Smith – is here.

Smith has been the offensive coordinator the last four years. Matthew Redman, Jeff’s son, has been the defensive coordinator for the past four years, too.

Jeff Redman was ill for the big rivalry game against Farmington and couldn’t make it to the game. Smith and Matthew Redman didn’t miss a step. “That was the test for us,” Smith said. “He said, ‘You two are ready for this.’ He was coaching Matt and I as much as the boys (over the last few years).”

Smith and Matthew Redman ran the show again in the Class M quarterfinals against Branford. Jeff Redman was home ill with COVID.

Smith says Avon will stick with the single-wing format in 2022.

“It took me a while to buy into it. One of Jeff’s biggest things is if you do something, do it well. You build a tremendous base for yourself,” Smith said. “Nothing happens without a base. We built a tremendous base on offense and defense. We’re not starting from scratch anymore.”

There is an energy around the program that hasn’t been there for a while in Avon. It was the first time since 2015 that Avon had a winning season on the gridiron.

Smith has been a teacher in Avon for the past three seasons. Last fall, he got a fulltime job at Avon High as a business education teacher. He was the assistant coach on last winter’s boys swimming team at Avon and has been the varsity baseball coach at Conard for the past two seasons.

Smith graduated from Conard where he was a swimmer and a baseball player. He attended UConn where he was a student manager for four years where Mike Cummings, the offensive coordinator for the Huskies from 2014-16, took Smith under his wing.

Smith is the tenth head coach in the school’s history. The Falcons open the 2022 season on Friday, Sept. 9, when they host Class S finalist Bloomfield at home at 6 p.m.

2022 Avon High football schedule
Friday, Sept. 9: BLOOMFIELD, 6 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 16: at Farmington, 6 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 23: STRATFORD, 6 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 30: BRISTOL EASTERN, 6:30 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 7: at Platt, 6:30 p.m.
Oct. 14-15: Bye week
Friday, Oct. 21: at Northwest Catholic, 10:30 a.m.
Friday, Oct. 28: at Berlin, 7 p.m.
Friday, Nov. 4: PLAINVILLE, 6 p.m.
Friday, Nov. 11: RHAM, 6 p.m.
Thursday, Nov. 22: at Lewis Mills, 6 p.m.

Gerry deSimas, Jr., is the editor and founder of The Collinsville Press. He is an award-winning writer and has been covering sports in Connecticut and New England for more than 35 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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