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Larry D. Smith

Company C-1

12 Sep 1939 - 28 Jan 2008

Place of Death: Tucson, AZ

Interment: TBA

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 from 1996-2000
"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 Mizzou
"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."



Larry Smith 102170385port.jpg

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 1989 season.

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 coaches.

Copyright © 2008 The Associated Press

Larry Smith

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 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 seasons.

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 rounders.

"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."

Said Johnnie 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 immediate results."

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 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 senior.

Funeral service 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

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