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Baseball: David Smart chosen as Denmark baseball, softball coach
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David Smart, who will lead the baseball and softball programs at Denmark, led LaGrange to the Class 4A state baseball semifinals in 2017. Photo courtesy David Smart.

Being a good friend has paid off for David Smart.

Back when he was head coach at Northside-Columbus, Smart coached with the Team Georgia all-star team alongside Jamie Corr, who has made his name as one of the best baseball coaches in county history by leading South Forsyth to the state finals in 2009 and Lambert to a state championship in 2014.

In the extensive time they spent together on the long bus ride to Team Georgia’s tournament in Oklahoma and then as roommates at the hotel, Smart and Corr struck up a friendship. Over the past holiday season, Smart texted Corr to wish him a happy birthday, and the conversation progressed to how Corr was doing as the new athletic director at Denmark High School.

Smart asked what Corr was going to do with the baseball job, and soon after, Smart was heading up to Forsyth County to take a look at the campus of the county’s newest high school. The job was his in principle by the middle of January, and on Tuesday of this week, the school board approved Smart’s hire. He’ll coach both the baseball and softball teams at Denmark.

“We were very happy with where we were,” Smart said. “But at the same time, you don’t get the opportunity to do something like this probably ever in a coaching career.”

Smart has had most of his coaching experience in the western part of the state. He was an assistant under Bobby Howard at Columbus High and then the head coach at Northside, where Smart took the Patriots to two state quarterfinal appearances. He took the same position at LaGrange after the 2014 season, and the Grangers made the state semifinals in 2017. Smart coached softball for three years at Northside and qualified for the state playoffs in each of those seasons.

Smart knows multiple other high school coaches in Forsyth County, and his teams have played area opponents before, most recently Lambert on Feb. 24.

“I understand and know exactly how good the baseball is in that area,” Smart said.

The issue of having a new school with fewer staff members drove Corr’s decision to hire one coach for both baseball and softball, and Smart expressed no apprehension at having to handle both positions.

He’s excited at the opportunity to establishing a winning culture with both programs. At Denmark, Smart will have nothing in his way.

“Sometimes, when you come into a place, you have to overcome a maybe not-so-great culture,” Smart said. “This one’s blank, so we get to establish it from the ground up. I’m really excited about that.”