Phillip Small – Head Coach – 9th Season
Coach Small just finished his ninth season as the leader of the Vanguard basketball program. He has never had a losing record in the district, and never finished lower than third in the league all while competing in one of the toughest districts in the state. Vanguard is fresh off its first State Final Four appearance in 35 years (1982). The 2016-2017 Knights amassed a 24-7 record while winning the County Championship, District Championship, and Regional Championship.
The Knights are 135-79 overall, 46-26 in district play, and 77-21 vs. Marion County Teams under Coach Small. In the past 4 seasons, Vanguard finished in the top 17 on the court and in the top 12 Academically in Class 6A. Vanguard has gone to the playoffs for four consecutive years for the first time since the mid 1990’s, while averaging more than 20 wins a year.
Coach Small’s players have earned 22 Marion County Interscholastic Athletic Conference (MCIAC) All-Conference Team selections, 30 MCIAC All-Academic Team selections, 2 Ocala Star Banner Players of the Year (2015-Myron Hagins, 2017 – Quez Clayton), 10 Star Banner First-Team All-Area selections, 6 Second-Team and 3 Third-Team, 3 FABC Third-Team All-State selections, and 26 of 31 seniors have gone on to enroll in college. Coach Small was voted FACA District Coach of the Year in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017. He was recently chosen as the 7A State Coach of the Year by the Florida Association of Basketball Coaches.
Coach Small also runs his own USSSA Travel Team, the Knights of Ocala. He is a coaching consultant and scout for Nike Team Florida of the Nike EYBL league. He has worked camps all across the country including Five Star, Kansas, North Carolina, Marquette, and Florida, among others.
Prior to arriving at Vanguard, Coach Small spent three years as an assistant at Leesburg High School. He also served as an assistant with the Leesburg Girls Basketball Program going to back-to-back Final Fours in 2007 and 2008. He attended the University of Kansas where he was a student volunteer in the Athletic Department and Men’s Basketball Program
Todd Davis – Assistant Varsity Coach – Guard Development – 16th Season
Coach Davis is in his 16th year coaching basketball at Vanguard High School. A standout guard in high school for the Knights, Coach Davis earned three varsity letters at Vanguard playing for Coach Jim Haley. As a senior point guard, Coach Davis nailed 8 three-pointers in one game against Jacksonville Beach Fletcher, lead his team to a 10-0 record in the month of January, earned First-Team All Area honors and made First-Team All North-Central Florida. Coach Davis went on to sign a college basketball scholarship to play for Coach Gene Smithson at Central Florida Community College.
Danny Smith – Head JV Coach – Varsity Assistant – Post Player Development – 5th Season
Coach Smith joined the basketball staff at Vanguard four years ago and has made an immediate impact on the program. In four seasons leading the JV team, all he has done is post a 63-12 overall record while completely dominating Marion County teams, going 38-5 and winning 3 Marion County Championships. Coach Smith has won Marion County JV Coach of the Year awards in three of his four seasons on the Knights sidelines.
A Vanguard Graduate, Coach Smith served in the United States Navy for four years after high school. Upon completion of his time with the Navy, he signed a scholarship with Lake City Community College where he made All-Conference and played in the Florida JUCO All-Star game. Coach Smith has been coaching basketball for 22 years at all levels from elementary to high school boys and girls. He is an excellent teacher and is great at building relationships with the kids. He holds a 204-73 record as a Varsity Head Coach. Coach Smith has also coached all age groups working with AAU and USSSA travel teams. He works as a Recreation Coordinator for Marion County Parks and Recreation.
Jordan is in his third year coaching high school basketball. He also served as an assistant coach for Howard Middle School last during the 2015-2016 season, coaching the team to the 2016 Marion County Championship. Jordan also serves as one of Vanguard Basketball’s strength and conditioning coaches. He played basketball for four years at Forest High School. Jordan brings a great knowledge and feel for the game to the court, and he is excellent at working with youth. He is in his first year of teaching as he was hired by Saddlewood Elementary to teach 5th grads.