B.C. Lions coaches Khari Jones (left) and Mark Washington (right) present Vernon Panthers head coach Sean Smith with the Lions’ Orange Helmet Scholastic Coach of the Year Award in Vancouver. (B.C. Lions photo)

Smith earns Orange Helmet honour

Vernon Panthers football guru named Lions’ Scholastic Coach of the Year

He’s built the Vernon Panthers high school football program into a perennial provincial power.

The B.C. Lions have rewarded Sean Smith for his dedication, naming Smith as Scholastic Coach of the Year at the 11th annual Lions’ Orange Helmet Awards dinner in Vancouver.

“For me, the Orange Helmet Award was recognition at the provincial level of how far our program has come and how we’ve been able to compete with the best programs in B.C. on a consistent basis,” said Smith, whose No. 1 ranked Panthers became the first Vernon high school football team to play for a provincial title, losing the Subway Bowl AA final in December to No. 2 Seaquam Seahawks of Delta.

“While I was fortunate to receive the award, I wish it could have been shared with all of the past and present coaches, players, managers, trainers and parents who have dedicated themselves to Panther football and bringing a championship to Vernon Secondary.”

The Orange Helmet Awards recognized B.C.’s 2016 provincial champions at all levels of amateur football, and also honoured the province’s Community and Scholastic Coaches of the Year, and handed out a Lifetime Achievement award to Chris Beaton, and Pioneer Awards to Jack Tsaka, John Henry and Murray Mulhern.

Vanderhoof’s Phil Turgeon was named Community Coach of the Year.