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April 12, 2012

Ryan Smith steps down as Deland coach

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Ryan Smith, just one year into the job as head football coach of the Deland Bulldogs, has resigned for personal reasons.

"My family life comes first," Smith said. "I have a son with autism and my family is from Perry. I'm moving back to Perry."

"Its a rough deal for just my wife to handle our son during football season," Smith said. "I'm just trying to get back to my extended family for the support and help."

Smith led the Bulldogs to 9-2 season and a 1-8A championship before falling to Neptune Beach Fletcher 24-14.

Smith took the Deland job after Kevin Pettis stepped down to take the Crestview job. Smith left Gainesville High School, where he was head coach for three seasons.

"It's definitely a tough decison," Smith said. "When you start coaching kids, you see them as your own. But at the end of the day, I've got to take care of my wife and my kids."

"The stress that autism brings on a faimly is just overwhelming. Being able to be back wehre we've got family to help will be remarkable."

Smith and his wife Tracey have two boys, five and two years old.

April is Autism Awareness Month. It is estimated that one in 88 children suffer from some form of autism.

Smith is the eighth coach at Deland in the last 20 years.

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