Carlisle High School football coach T.J. Smart
Photo: Staff Writer
Photo: Staff Writer

Carlisle football coach accused in theft was hired 3 months ago, stressed mentorship and character

The Beavercreek High School employee accused of stealing cash from event ticket sales was hired by Carlisle to be its high school football coach just three months ago and said he wanted to help his players “build their character.”

On Tuesday, a police officer escorted Thomas Joel Smart from his Beavercreek High School classroom to the police department, where he admitted to a detective that he stole an estimated $600 as well as ticket rolls and the ticket log from a game, according to the report.

READ MORE: Beavercreek school worker, Carlisle football coach accused of stealing ticket money

Carlisle’s board approved hiring Smart on Feb. 11 for his first head coaching job. The coaching position salary is $6,500 per year, and he kept his job as a special education paraprofessional in Beavercreek.

In an interview with this news organization when he was hired, Smart said he wanted to stress mentorship and character development with his Carlisle players.

“Basically each coach has four or five kids,” Smart said in February. “They meet with them once a week, check in on school, how’s the home life, and they challenge them to make plays outside of football, whether that’s opening a door for an old person or just little plays like that to help build their character.

“Then the players will mentor each other, and they’ll have a new partner every week. We’ve got a goal sheet for them, what they need to work on, did they challenge a teammate, praise a teammate, review practice with a teammate … it’s very involved.

“Another piece of that is the seniors will write letters to their mom, and we’ll have dad jersey night where the dads present the jersey to the seniors for the season. So not only are coaches mentoring players, players are mentoring players, and we’re bringing the parents into this to help us build good young men.”

READ MORE: New Carlisle coach will stress mentorship, character

He spent last year as the assistant head coach at Oakwood, working as the special teams coordinator while helping with the defensive line and running backs.

Smart, a 2008 Fairmont graduate, was also an assistant at Oakwood in 2013. His other coaching jobs were at Belmont, Tipp City Bethel and Beavercreek.

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