East Gaston head football coach JT Postell departs for Smoky Mountain


On Monday, Jackson County Public Schools announced that JT Postell has been hired to serve as Smoky Mountain High’s head football coach.

Postell will fill the void that was left when previous head coach Ricky Brindley took over the lead job at his home school of Pisgah High School. Most recently, Postell has been in the head coach role at East Gaston High School in Mt. Holly. Postell was previously the head coach at Tuscola High School, a member of Smoky Mountain and Pisgah’s Mountain 7 3A Conference.

The school system said it looped in former Western Carolina University and Cherokee High School head coach Kent Briggs and former Lincolnton High School head coach Scott Cloninger, both state championship winners, to be a part of its interview committee. Jackson County received 26 applicants for the position.

Postell is a graduate of Western Carolina University and Andrews High School. His father, Terry, was the head coach at Murphy High and Andrews.

The WNC native got the head job at Tuscola in 2018. He led the Mountaineers to an 8-5 overall record and a playoff appearance in his first season. In 2019, Tuscola went 4-7 overall. Postell resigned shortly after the season ended.

Postell was hired to take over the East Gaston program a month before the mass spread of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020. His first season with the Warriors in spring of 2021 resulted in a 2-5 overall record. In the three full seasons since then, Postell had led East Gaston to winning records and playoff berths. In fall 2021, the Warriors finished 8-5. They went 6-5 in 2022 and then 8-3 this past fall. Postell’s overall head coaching record is 36-30.

Here is the full statement sent out by Jackson County Public Schools:

Jackson County Public Schools is pleased to announce JT Postell as the new Head Football Coach at Smoky Mountain High School. After a thorough search from 26 applicants and multiple candidate interviews, the committee selected Coach Postell. The interview committee was composed of SMHS school administrators, district staff and two experienced coaches, former Western Carolina University and Cherokee Head Coach, Kent Briggs, and retired Lincolnton High School Head Coach, Scott Cloninger. With both Briggs and Cloninger being high school state champion coaches, they brought a high level of football knowledge and experience to the interview committee.

Coach Postell comes to Smoky Mountain from East Gaston High School who is a member of the Southern Piedmont 1A/2A conference. His record at East Gaston for the last four years is 24-18, making appearances in the playoffs three of those four years. Prior to East Gaston, Coach Postell spent two years at Tuscola where he made a second round playoff appearance in his first year. Before his head coaching roles, he served as an Offensive Coordinator and Special Teams Coach. Coach Postell is a physical education teacher, having earned his Bachelor’s Degree from Western Carolina University in 2005.

Smoky Mountain High School is excited to bring experience and longitude to the head football coach position. Coach Postell will be relocating to the Jackson County area to become an integral part of the Sylva and SMHS community! A start date has yet to be determined.

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