KUNA — Kuna High football coach Ian Smart is leaving the school after taking the open job at Timberline High.

The Timberline Athletics Twitter account announced the hiring on Thursday afternoon. Less than two hours later, the Kuna School District issued a release confirming that he was resigning as both the football coach and speech teacher.

“I have loved my time in Kuna and will always cherish the people and town,” Smart said in the release. “I have been given a chance to work closer to home and be more involved in my family’s life…. I can’t wait to see the continued success and progress this community and program accomplishes in the years to come.”

Smart, a former Boise State defensive lineman, has been the coach of the Kavemen for the past three seasons. He has posted a 17-14 record and led Kuna to state playoff appearances in each of his three seasons. He also oversaw the team’s move up from the 4A to 5A classification before the start of this season.

BEING CLOSER TO FAMILY

Smart said he made the decision to move his coaching career to Timberline High School in Boise because he would be closer to his home.

Smart and his wife, Jenna Smart, met when both were attending Boise State University. Ian Smart was playing for the Broncos, and Jenna Smart was on the Broncos dance team.

“After college we got married and we knew we wanted to stay in the valley,” Smart said.

The two have one daughter who will be 4 in May. Smart said he wants to be closer to his home, which is about a mile south of Lucky Peak Reservoir, so he can be a better father.

“The things I was missing at home were impossible for me to overlook,” Smart said. “No intention of leaving. But I talked to a few people (at Timberline), and I talked to my wife and asked her what she thought. Just thinking of the opportunities I would get to spend with my daughter without having to sacrifice coaching.”

Smart said he and his wife do not see having more children in the near future, so he didn’t want his miss his shot on spending time with his young daughter.

“Being a football coach is hard,” Smart said. “And it’s hard on the family.”

Smart said he is also looking forward to being able to take his bicycle to and from work during the warmer seasons.

A CHANGE IN THE FOOTBALL PROGRAM

Smart started with Kuna High School five years ago to teach speech and coach the varsity football team. Moving to Timberline means Smart will be both a coach and a physical education teacher.

“Kind of the cliche,” Smart said. “I liked teaching speech because it mixed up my day-to-day activities.”

Kuna school district spokesman David Reinhart said the past year has been tough for the Kuna Kavemen football team.

In September, Kuna assistant football coach, Robby Lee Washington, was arrested on drug charges and was fired from the football program. In October, former NFL coach Mike Christianson stepped in as a favor to Smart to help the team by being the assistant coach.

Now that Smart is leaving the program, Christianson will be leaving, too.

“He is going to go with me,” Smart said. “He’s not (contracted), he’s a private business person. He and I have a good connection, and we are pretty close friends. For him it’s an opportunity to keep working with me.”

Smart said a new coach will bring in a new system, plan and assistant coach.

Smart will be with Kuna until the end of the 2016-17 school year and then he’ll begin his contract with Timberline.

Reinhart said the school district posted Smart’s job on online job boards and is hoping to fill the position soon.

“We like to have the coach also be an in-house teacher,” Reinhart said. “It’s to build a relationship.”

Contracts for the 2017-18 school year need to be created soon. The job posting will be available until April 28, then candidate interviews will start.

“We want to get someone on board soon,” Reinhart said. “But we want to make sure they are the right fit for our school and our students.”

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