Homer Smith to Receive 2006 Outstanding Achievement Award
Former Davidson, Pacific and Army head coach Homer Smith will be the recipient of the American Football Coaches Association’s Outstanding Achievement Award. The award will be presented to Smith during the AFCA Kickoff Luncheon on January 8 at the 2007 AFCA Convention in San Antonio, Texas. The AFCA Board of Trustees created the award in order to recognize AFCA members, past and present, who have achieved outstanding success while coaching in football.
“I was very surprised to learn that I was going to be the recipient of the AFCA Outstanding Achievement Award,” Smith said. “I was sitting in my house in retired seclusion and all of a sudden I had a call from Grant Teaff, who informed me that I was the recipient of this award. I am very pleased to receive this honor.”
Regarded by many as one of the finest offensive minds in the country, Smith spent 39 years coaching football, 37 in college and two years in the NFL. He began his coaching career at Stanford in 1958, as the freshman coach. He remained there for three years while earning his master’s degree in business. Following that, he coached the backfield at the Air Force Academy for four years.
Smith earned his first head coaching stint at Davidson in 1965. He spent five years with the Wildcats, earning an overall record of 23-24, including a 7-4 record in 1969, a Southern Conference co-championship and a berth in the Tangerine Bowl. Smith moved onto the University of the Pacific in 1970 and spent two years as the head coach, turning in a record of 8-14. He began the first of three assistant stints at UCLA in 1972. In 1973 under his system, the Bruin offense set school records in total yards (470.6) and rushing yards per game (400.3), which still stands.
Smith spent the next five years (1974-78) as head coach at Army, where he was named 1977 Eastern College Coach of the Year after his team broke all the existing school passing records. He returned to UCLA in 1980, serving as offensive coordinator and coaching quarterbacks and receivers. His quarterback, Tom Ramsey, led the nation in passing efficiency and ranked seventh in total offense. He stayed through the 1986 season, then moved into the professional ranks as offensive coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs.
Smith returned to the college ranks in 1988 at Alabama. In his second season there, back-up quarterback Gary Hollingsworth came off the bench in the second game of the year and guided the Crimson Tide to a 10-2 record, a Southeastern Conference championship and their first Sugar Bowl appearance in a decade. Smith returned to Terry Donahue’s UCLA staff as coordinator for the 1990-93 seasons, then moved back to Alabama in 1994 and 1995 as offensive coordinator. Smith joined the University of Arizona staff as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in 1996 and retired from coaching the following year.
In his 39 years of coaching, Smith provided a pipeline to the NFL. Every quarterback who started a game during Smith’s second tenure at UCLA — Tom Ramsey, Jay Schroeder, Rick Neuheisel, Steve Bono, David Norrie and Matt Stevens — played in the NFL. He also coached five of the most prolific receivers in Bruin history; Mike Sherrard, Karl Dorrell, Carmac Carney, Flipper Anderson and JoJo Townsell. All four of UCLA’s Rose Bowl appearances under Terry Donahue came during Smith’s tenures as Bruin offensive coordinator. In 1994, he coached Jay Barker to a number of honors, including SEC Player of the Year, the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award and the Davey O’Brien Award. Barker was fifth in the balloting for the Heisman Trophy.
Smith was a two-time All-East and All-Ivy League fullback at Princeton, and graduated in 1954 with a Bachelor’s degree in economics and earned an MBA degree from Stanford in 1960. He added a master’s in Theological Studies from Harvard in 1982.
He is author of several books including Handbook for Coaching the Football Passing Attack, Installing Football’s Wishbone T Attack and A Complete Offensive Playbook. He published his first fiction novel, A Game to Play, in 1995.