Larry Smith passed away in
Tucson AZ of leukemia.
Larry was a Plebe Classmate of ours. He left the academy and later
graduated from Bowling Green University in Ohio. He went on to a career
coaching football. He was the head coach at Tulane, Arizona, Southern
California, and Missouri.
The funeral was Monday, Feb. 4, at 2 p.m. at St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church 7650 N. Paseo del Norte Tucson, AZ 85704
He is survived by
his wife Cheryl, his daughter Alicia and his son Corby plus several grandchildren.
Class Memorial Pages\C-1 Larry Smith.pdf
Following are some comments from current and former University of Missouri
players, coaches and administrators who had relationships with Larry Smith...
Corby Jones, MU letterman from 1995-98 at Mizzou
"Naturally, this is a tough blow. Our thoughts and prayers are with Cheryl,
Corby, Alli and everyone in that wonderful family. Coach was an outstanding
football coach and an even better man. He'll be dearly missed."
Andy Hill, Assistant Football Coach who coached under Smith
"Larry Smith was a great man. He was a very passionate man about the game of
football and even more so about his family. He got Missouri back into bowl games
after such a long drought, and he'll always be remembered fondly for that."
Barry Odom, MU Assistant Athletic
Director for Football Operations, and letterwinner from 1996-99 under Smith at
"First and foremost it is a sad day for college football, the University of
Missouri and all of those that had the opportunity to know Coach Smith and his
family. I want to give my condolences to the family - they are a special group
of people who have had a tremendous impact on many, many lives. I remember Coach
Smith as a tremendous leader and motivator. He was a great person and I think
those that knew him will agree that he made each person he came in contact with
a better person. He cared about much more than football with his players. He
cared about relationships and was sincere and honest. He and his wife Cheryl
were upstanding community members and did so much for Columbia and the State of
Missouri. One of the greatest memories I will keep forever is when we beat
Colorado in 1997 to become bowl eligible - it was a great moment for all of
those involved with Mizzou Football. Coach Smith was always able to express his
emotions - we knew he cared about his team."
Gary Pinkel, MU Head Football Coach
"I always had a tremendous amount of respect for Coach Smith and the
successes he had at Arizona, USC and Missouri. I followed his career for a long
time in the PAC-10, when I was at Washington, I used to coach against him, and I
saw him build programs, and I saw the tremendous influence he had on young
people. I was always impressed with him as a person and just had a lot of
respect for him, and I'm very sorry for his family's loss."
Mark Alnutt, MU Associate Athletic Director and letterwinner
from 1994-95 under Smith at Mizzou
"My thoughts and prayers are with Coach's family at this time. I was very
fortunate to play under Coach Smith during my final two years at Missouri. I
knew he was the right person to lead Missouri back to it's winning ways with his
approach to discipline and coaching mental and physical toughness. I also owe
Coach Smith for giving me an opportunity to begin my career in athletics. If he
had not given me a chance to work on his staff, I don't know if I would be where
I am today. To Larry, rest in peace and understand that you will be missed by
many people that you have touched over your career."
Mike Alden, MU Director of Athletics
"Coach Smith was a man of great integrity who was known for his mentoring of
young men for such a long time. I'll always remember him as a person of
unquestionable character and outstanding leadership. He did a lot for this
University in his short time here, not just on the football field, but in the
community, especially with the Central Missouri Food Bank. He helped raise a lot
of money for a very important cause, and he was wholeheartedly behind that.
There is no question that he'll be sadly missed."
Mike Kelly, Voice of the Tigers
"Larry was an incredible person who wore his emotions on his sleeve, you
always knew how he felt about in issue. He loved his players to the ultimate
degree. He will go down as guy who helped give Missouri fans hope in a short
amount of time."
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) - Larry Smith, the emotional coach who led Southern
California to the Rose Bowl three times and won 143 games with Tulane,
Arizona, USC and Missouri, has died after a long bout with chronic lymphatic
leukemia. He was 68.
Smith died Monday in a Tucson hospital, the University of Arizona confirmed.
His 24-year head coaching career began at Tulane, included seven years at
Arizona and ended in 2000 at Missouri. Smith was 143-126-7 and his teams
were 3-6-1 in bowl games.
Smith coached Southern California for six years, finishing 44-25-3, before
he was fired on New Year's Day of 1993, his departure hastened by a 24-7
loss in the Freedom Bowl to unranked Fresno State.
Smith started his tenure at USC in 1987 and took the Trojans to the Rose
Bowl in each of his first three seasons. The Trojans lost their first two
Rose Bowls under Smith, before beating Michigan and his mentor, Bo
Schembechler, in Schembechler's final game as Wolverines' coach after the
Smith remained active in recent years, including working with the College
Football Hall of Fame and spearheading efforts to change coaching at the Pop
Warner level to make sure youngsters get the proper football fundamentals.
As part of that, Smith began an annual football clinic for Pop Warner
Copyright © 2008 The Associated Press
In his final year as football
coach at Missouri, Larry Smith was diagnosed with chronic lymphatic
leukemia. On Monday the disease killed him. Smith, taken off life support at
the request of his family, died some 30 minutes later in a Tucson, Ariz.,
hospital, shortly after 2:30 p.m. Central Time. Brock Olivo, the Missouri
tailback who starred for Smith’s 1997 Holiday Bowl team and had remained in
close contact with Smith and his family, received a telephone call on Sunday
saying that his old coach was fading. Monday afternoon, Olivo — who was in
Columbia — received another call telling him Smith had died. Smith was 68.
“He had gone into the hospital a little over a month ago,” Olivo said.
“Cheryl (Smith’s wife) called and told me what was going on. So I had
planned on going out and visiting him. “But that never happened.” Olivo and
other former Smith players had celebrated with Smith at a ceremony in
Columbia during the last football season. Many thought Smith looked good at
that event. “I thought he looked a little weaker,” Olivo said. Smith coached
at Tulane, Arizona, USC and MU from 1976 through 2000, compiling a 143-126-7
record. At Mizzou, Smith was 33-46-1, taking the Tigers to the Holiday Bowl
in 1997 and the Insight.com Bowl in 1998. Funeral arrangements are pending.
The family is considering the funeral be held either Sunday or Monday,
according to MU athletic department official Mark Alnutt.
Former USC Head
Football Coach Larry Smith Dies
He led Trojans to
Rose Bowls in his first three years.
Jan. 28, 2008
Former USC head
football coach Larry Smith, who guided the Trojans to a bowl game in 5 of his 6
years at Troy (including Rose Bowls his first 3 years), died today (Jan. 28) in
Tucson, Ariz., at age 68. He had been battling leukemia and lymphoma.
Known for his
ability to rebuild struggling programs, Smith posted a 143-126-7 overall record
in 24 years as a head coach at 4 schools (Tulane, Arizona, USC and Missouri).
Smith compiled a
44-25-3 mark at USC from 1987 to 1992, including 33-12-2 in Pac-10 games. He won
3 Pac-10 titles (1987-88-89), was runnerup in 1990 and finished third in 1992.
He was the Pac-10 Coach of the Year twice (1987-88). He became only the second
coach in college history to have his first 3 teams at a school go to the Rose
Bowl (Stanford's Claude "Tiny" Thornhill also did so in 1933-35), as well as
only the second coach in USC history at the time (joining John Robinson) to get
to the Rose Bowl in his debut season and to play in 5 bowls in his first 6
His 1988 team,
which started off 10-0 and was ranked as high as second in the AP poll, finished
with a 10-2 mark, USC's most wins since 1979. Those Trojans went 8-0 in the
Pac-10, the first time any Pac-10 team had won that many conference games and
the first time since 1976 that a Pac-10 squad went unbeaten and untied through
league play. USC's Rose Bowl-clinching win over UCLA that year was its
first-ever against the Bruins in Pasadena.
In 1989, his
Trojans went 9-2-1 and set a school-record for consecutive Pac-10 victories
(19). Besides the 3 Rose Bowls, USC also played in the 1990 John Hancock Bowl
and the 1992 Freedom Bowl under Smith.
Smith produced 13
All-American first teamers at USC, including Heisman Trophy-runnerup quarterback
Rodney Peete, Thorpe Award-winning safety Mark Carrier, linebacker Junior Seau,
offensive tackle Tony Boselli, wide receiver Curtis Conway and defensive tackle
Tim Ryan. Some 33 of his USC players were NFL draft picks, including 6 first
"On behalf of the
entire Trojan Family, I'm saddened to hear of the passing of Larry Smith," said
USC athletic director Mike Garrett, who was an associate athletic director
during Smith's final 2 seasons at Troy. "He was a good man and a good football
coach. When he came to USC, he brought a tough-minded approach and solid
fundamentals and he produced some very successful teams here. Getting his first
three teams into the Rose Bowl is unprecedented in our history. We'll remember
Larry dearly and will long appreciate his contributions to Trojan football. Our
sincere thoughts go out to Cheryl and the family."
Morton, former USC All-American and NFL wide receiver who played for Smith:
"Coach Smith was a very influential person in my life. He helped me develop
toughness, character and discipline. He'll be remembered as an all-time great
football coach who loved his players and genuinely cared about them as
individuals as well as football players."
Said John Jackson,
former USC and NFL wide receiver who became Troy's career pass catching leader
while playing for Smith: "When he got hired at USC, Larry Smith was exactly what
we needed. He was perfect for USC at that time in our history. He knew how to
organize talent and get guys to play together as a team. He had a plan.
Everything was built around discipline and playing as a team, and he got
Smith was the
first Trojan head football coach without a prior USC background since Howard
Jones in 1925. He came to USC from Arizona, which he built into national
prominence during his 7 years (1980-86) there. He was 48-23-3 at Arizona,
including 31-13-2 in his last 4 seasons. His 1986 Wildcat team went 9-3 and
posted the school's first bowl win (Aloha Bowl). He directed the Wildcats to
winning seasons in 6 consecutive years (1981-86) for the first time since 1923,
to 5 straight victories over archrival Arizona State for the first time since
1948 (twice knocking the Sun Devils out of the Rose Bowl) and to 4 consecutive
seasons of 7 wins or more for the first time ever. In 1981, his Arizona team
upset No. 1 USC in the Coliseum.
Smith began his
coaching career at Lima (Ohio) Shawnee High, serving as an assistant for 2
seasons (1962-63) and then head coach the next 3 years (1964-66). He then
entered the college coaching ranks at Miami of Ohio for 2 years (1967-68), as
the defensive end coach under head coach Bo Schembechler. He next moved with
Schembechler to Michigan, coaching the offensive line there for 4 seasons
(1969-72). When Jim Young (alongside whom Smith had coached at his previous
stops) was hired as head coach at Arizona, Smith went with him and was the
assistant head coach/defensive coordinator there for 3 years (1973-75).
Tulane hired Smith
in 1976 as its head coach and he rebuilt that program to a 9-3 record in 1979,
including a Liberty Bowl berth. In 4 years (1976-79) there, he was 18-27.
After USC, Smith
was Missouri's head coach for 7 seasons (1994-2000), posting a 33-46-1 record.
In 1998, the Tigers went 8-4 and won the Insight.com Bowl, Missouri's first bowl
victory since 1981. His 1997 squad played in the Holiday Bowl, ending the
school's 13-year bowl drought.
Smith returned to
Tucson after his coaching career and worked as a television commentator for
Arizona football games. He also conducted football camps.
Smith was a
3-sport star at Van Wert (Ohio) High. He earned an appointment to the U.S.
Military Academy upon graduation in 1957, but a year later felt coaching was his
main interest and he transferred to Bowling Green. He was a 3-year (1959-61)
letterman 2-way end. Bowling Green captured the small college championship his
sophomore season, he won all-league honors as a junior and was team captain as a
information is pending.
He is survived by
his wife, Cheryl, his daughter, Alicia, and his son, Corby (a 1992 letterman
quarterback at USC), plus several grandchildren.
Reaction To Death Of
Former Coach Larry Smith
Smith Coached Tiger Football Program From 1994-2000
Jan. 28, 2008
- The University of Missouri was informed today that former football
coach Larry Smith passed away this afternoon in a Tucson, Ariz. hospital
after a courageous battle with a long illness. Coach Smith, who died at
68 years old, served as Mizzou's head coach from 1994-2000, and in those
seven seasons, helped restore pride to a program that had struggled
through hard times for many years.
Smith's 1997 Missouri team went 7-5
and reached the Holiday Bowl, which broke a 13-year bowl game drought
for the school. His 1998 team was one of the best in the nation, going
8-4 with all four losses to top-10 ranked teams (with three of them by
seven points or fewer). That squad won the Insight.com Bowl that year,
marking MU's first bowl victory since 1981.
In seven years on the Tiger sideline,
Smith, the 30th head coach in MU football history, went 33-46-1. His
24-year overall head coaching record (Tulane, Arizona, USC, Missouri)
Service and memorial information is
pending, and will be passed along as soon as it becomes available.
Larry Smith: 1939-2008
TUCSON (Ariz.)--Former University of
Arizona football coach Larry Smith died here today after a
battle with cancer. He was 68.
Smith, whose fervor for the game and focus
on what he often simply called "running and hitting," helped
Arizona emerge in the early 1980s to become a competitive
member of the Pacific-10 Conference. He was Arizona's head
coach from 1980 to 1986.
"It's a sad day for Wildcats past, present
and future," UA director of athletics Jim Livengood said.
"Larry was part of a great tradition at UA and helped so many
young student-athletes be successful playing football and
later in life. His love for college football was as big as the
emotion that he wore on his sleeve."
Smith was head coach at Tulane prior to
accepting the head job at UA, went on to lead Southern
California to three Rose Bowls in a 1987-92 stint and later
was head coach at Missouri and led the Tigers to back-to-back
bowls. He posted an all-time coaching record of 143-126-7.
His Arizona squads combined for a 48-28-3
mark including a 9-3 mark in his final season. He hed UA to
bowl appearances (Aloha) that season and the previous year
(Sun Bowl in 1985) when the team finished 8-3-1.
Smith put a big emphasis on in-state
recruiting, and put a huge premium on the game with in-state
rival Arizona State.
Smith's first club was drubbed 44-7 by the
Sun Devils in 1980, narrowly lost to ASU in Tempe a year
later, then embarked on the beginning of a nine-year odyssey
thereafter. UA beat ASU from 1982 under Smith and continued
unbeaten under Dick Tomey from 1987-91. The nine-game span --
"The Streak" -- is as revered an accomplishment as any in UA
"Smith had been an occasional visitor to
Arizona practices in recent years, both for his enjoyment and
work on local sports shows," UA head coach Mike Stoops
said, "It's been easy to tell what Coach Smith meant to the
Arizona program since I arrived -- lots of guys talk about
those days with very strong emotions. My feelings go out to
the family. Not only was he a great
coach, he was a great husband, a great father, and a great
friend -- and that is what is most important."
Smith coached two-time consensus
All-American linebacker Ricky Hunley and six other Wildcats
who earned some All-American recogntion -- Hunley's younger
brother, Lamonte, safety Allan Durden, placekicker Max
Zendejas, linebacker Byron Evans, center Joe Tofflemire and
safety Chuck Cecil. More than 20 of his UA players went on to
Ricky Hunley in 1983 and Byron Evans in
1986 won the Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year honor -- as
did two other Smith-recruited players, Cecil (1987) and Dana
Wells (1988). Eighteen of his players earned first-team
ALl-Pac-10 honors. Quarterback Tom Tunnicliffe held many of
Arizona's passing records for more than two decades from his
years on Smith's 1982-83 teams.
Smith, a native of Van Wert, Ohio, starred
in three sports at Van Wert high School and was accepted to
the U.S. Military Academy, but transferred to Bowling Green
State, where he played football three years. He began coaching
in the prep ranks at Lima, Ohio, Shawnee High School and then
joined the college ranks as an assistant to Bo Schembechler at
Miami of Ohio.
He joined Schembechler at Michigan for
three years and when UM assistant Jim Young took the Arizona
head job in 1973, Smith joined him as defensive coordinator
until taking over at Tulane in 1976. Four years later he took
over for Young in Tucson.
After retiring following his stint at
Missouri, Smith returned to Tucson. He served as a color
analyst for UA televised games in 2005.
Smith is survived by his wife, the former
Cheryl Nueenschwander, son Corby and daugher Alicia, and
Services are pending.
Former Football Coach
Larry Smith Dies At Age 68
Green Wave head coach from 1976-79 passes
away after lengthy battle with leukemia
Jan. 28, 2008
Bowling Green Alum Larry
Smith Passes Away
La. - Former Tulane University head football
coach Larry Smith died Monday at a Tucson, Ariz., hospital following a
lengthy battle with leukemia. He was 68 years old.
Smith coached at Tulane from 1976-79 and led the
Green Wave to 18 victories. He took over a program that had won a
combined nine games in the two seasons prior to his arrival and
transformed the Green Wave into a nine-win team and a bowl contender by
his fourth season.
"I knew Larry very well and I have the utmost respect
for him," Tulane head coach Bob Toledo said. "He was the head coach when
I was at the University of Pacific and we used to play each other. Later
on, I was at Oregon when he coached at both Arizona and USC. He tried to
hire me as the offensive coordinator at Missouri when I was at Texas
A&M, but I received a call from Jim Donnan at UCLA the same day and
ended up going back to the West Coast. Larry was a very good friend and
I am saddened to hear of his passing."
Smith's best season with the Wave was his last in
1979 when he led Tulane to a 9-3 overall record that included wins over
No. 13 Stanford, No. 19 SMU and the 20th-ranked Green Wave topped LSU in
the regular season finale, 24-13, at the Louisiana Superdome.
The crowd of 73,496 on hand at the Dome on Nov. 17,
1979, remains the highest attendance to see the Green Wave play at the
Superdome. Tulane advanced to the 1979 Liberty Bowl, its first bowl in
six years, but dropped a 9-6 decision to Penn State in what would be
Smith's final game.
Ten Tulane players earned All-America honors during
Smith's tenure, including two-time All-Americans Roch Hontas and Eddie
Murray (1978 and 1979). Other players to earn All-America honors under
Smith are defensive back Martin Mitchell (1976), offensive tackle Eric
Laakso (1977), center Dee Methvin (1978), wide receiver Alton Alexis
(1979), Center Chris Doyle (1979), defensive end Bob Becnel (1979), nose
guard Wilfred Simon (1979) and tight end Rodney Holman (1979).
In addition, Smith sent six players to the
NFL as Mitchell was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in 1977, Laakso
was taken by the Miami Dolphins in 1978, Methvins (Cleveland Browns) and
defensive back Ricky Smith (Oakland Raiders) were drafted in 1979, while
Murray (Detroit Lions) and Alexis (Cincinnati Bengals) got picked in
Following the `79 campaign, Smith accepted the head
coaching position at the University of Arizona, where he led the
Wildcats to a record of 48-28-3 during his seven seasons in Tucson.
Following the 1986 campaign, he took over the reins of the USC football
program from 1987-92 and led the Trojans to Rose Bowl appearances in his
first three seasons.
Smith concluded his career at Missouri where he led
the Tigers to back-to-back bowl games in the late 1990s. Smith
registered a 143-126-7 overall record and his teams appeared in 10 bowl
games in which he was 3-6-1.
A native of Van Wert, Ohio, Smith starred in three
sports at Van Wert high School and was accepted to the U.S. Military
Academy, but transferred to Miami (Ohio), where he played football for
three seasons. He began his coaching career in the prep ranks at Shawnee
High School in Lima, Ohio, and then joined the college ranks as an
assistant to Bo Schembechler at Miami University.
Smith then rejoined Schembechler at Michigan for
three seasons. When Wolverines assistant Jim Young accepted the Arizona
head job in 1973, Young hired Smith as defensive coordinator until
taking over at Tulane in 1976.
Smith is survived by his wife, the former Cheryl
Nueenschwander, son Corby and daughter Alicia, and several
Successful football coach dies after long
Jan. 28, 2008
Louis Post-Dispatch (STLtoday.com) - Larry
Smith, whose seven-year stint as head football coach at the University
of Missouri was highlighted by the Tigers ending a 13-year streak of
losing seasons in 1997, died today in Tucson, Ariz., after a long
He was 68.
Smith, a native of Van Wert, Ohio, and a Bowling
Green graduate, was diagnosed with chronic lymphatic leukemia in 2000,
and according to the Arizona Daily Star, he recently had battled
Smith coached Mizzou from 1994-2000, a career
highlighted by 1997 and 1998 seasons in which the Tigers gained national
recognition with 7-5 and 8-4 seasons that followed 13 consecutive losing
But his 1999 and 2000 teams struggled, finishing last
each season in the Big 12 North, and he was fired after the '00 team
lost five of its last six games and finished 3-8. He had three years
remaining on his contract when Mizzou fired him.
Smith's overall record at Missouri was 33-46-1, with
a loss in the 1997 Holiday Bowl and a victory in the 1998 Insight.com
He coached Arizona for seven seasons and compiled a
48-28-3 record before leaving in 1987 for Southern California.
His first three USC teams played in the Rose Bowl,
but he was fired after losing to Fresno State in the Freedom Bowl
following the 1992 season.
He also made a bowl-game appearance as head coach of
Tulane from 1976-79.
Smith attended the U.S. Military Academy in 1957-58,
then transferred to Bowling Green, where he graduated in 1962 with a
bachelor of science degree in mathematics. He was a three-year
letterwinner for the Falcons, captaining Doyt Perry's 1961 squad and
winning All-Mid-American Conference honors on a pair of MAC championship
teams. Smith would also earn his master's degree from BGSU, in 1967.
Smith began his coaching career at Lima Shawnee High
School, winning league titles in 1964 and 1966. He moved to the
collegiate ranks in 1967, joining Bo Schembechler's staff at Miami
coaching outside linebackers for the Redskins. Smith went to Michigan
with Schembechler in 1969, and coached the offensive line for the
Wolverines from 1969-72.
In 1973, he joined head coach Jim Young at
Arizona, and served as linebacker coach, defensive coordinator and
assistant head coach from 1973-76, before getting his first
head-coaching opportunity at Tulane.
He was inducted into the BGSU Athletics Hall of Fame
Smith is survived by his wife, Cheryl, and children
Corby and Alicia.
Funeral arrangements and memorial information for
Smith are pending.
THE LARRY SMITH FILE
Bowling Green State University, 1962, B.S., Mathematics
Bowling Green State University, 1967, M.Ed., School Administration
Van Wert High School, Van Wert, Ohio (football, basketball, baseball)
U.S. Military Academy (football)
Bowling Green State University (football)
Assistant Football Coach, Freshman Basketball Coach, Junior High Track
Coach, Lima Shawnee High School, Lima, Ohio, 1962-63
Head Football Coach, Lima Shawnee High School, Lima, Ohio, 1964-66
Outside Linebacker Coach, Miami (OH) University, 1967-78
Offensive Line Coach, University of Michigan, 1969-72
Assistant Head Football Coach, Defensive Coordinator, Linebacker Coach,
University of Arizona, 1973-76
Head Football Coach, Tulane University, 1976-79
Head Football Coach, University of Arizona, 1980-86
Head Football Coach, University of Southern California, 1987-92
Head Football Coach, University of Missouri, 1994-2000
Collegiate Head Coaching Record:
18-27-0 -- 4-year Tulane Record
48-28-3 -- 7-year Arizona Record
44-25-3 -- 6-year Southern California Record
33-46-1 -- 7-year Missouri Record
143-126-7 -- 24-year Career record
1976 Tulane 2-9
1977 Tulane 3-8
1978 Tulane 4-7
1979 Tulane *9-3
1980 Arizona 5-6
1981 Arizona 6-5
1982 Arizona 6-4-1
1983 Arizona 7-3-1
1984 Arizona 7-4
1985 Arizona *8-3-1
1986 Arizona *9-3
1987 Southern California *8-4
1988 Southern California *10-2
1989 Southern California *9-2-1
1990 Southern California *8-4-1
1991 Southern California 3-8
1992 Southern California *6-5-1
1994 Missouri 3-8-1
1995 Missouri 3-8
1996 Missouri 5-6
1997 Missouri *7-5
1998 Missouri *8-4
1999 Missouri 4-7
2000 Missouri 3-8
* indicates bowl seasons.
Born Sept. 12, 1939, in Van Wert, Ohio
Wife, Cheryl, two children, Alicia and Corby.
some information from this release courtesy MUTigers.com