July 30, 2013
Columbia, Mo. - Harry Smith, a former University of Missouri Football Coach, staff member and longtime contributor to the program died on Tuesday. He was 94.
A native of Russellville, Mo., Smith spent two stints as an assistant coach at the University of Missouri, beginning his coaching career in 1941 and helping the Tigers to the Big Six Conference championship and a berth into the Sugar Bowl. At the time that Jan. 1, 1942, Sugar Bowl contest vs. Fordham (L, 2-0) was just the second bowl berth in program history and helped continue a period of great success for the Tigers on the gridiron.
"We are saddened to learn of the passing of Coach Harry Smith and wish to send our deepest condolences to his entire family," Director of Athletics Mike Alden said. "Coach Smith was a visible fixture around Coach Pinkel's football program over the past decade and was someone that embodied the spirit of Mizzou, not only through his coaching under Coach Don Faurot and Coach Dan Devine, but with his work on campus, and most importantly, through his mentorship of his student-athletes. The University of Missouri mourns the loss of a great man and college football Hall of Famer today, and our thoughts go out to his family, their friends and the many student-athletes he impacted along the way."
Smith returned to Columbia in 1952 to once again work for Faurot and was a key coaching figure on Dan Devine's staffs from 1958-66, helping Mizzou accumulate a 64-23-7 overall record and the school's first-ever bowl victory. The Tigers capped a Big Eight Championship season in 1960 with a 21-14 win over No. 4 Navy in the Orange Bowl. That Tiger team was the school's first to be ranked No. 1 nationally and finished No. 4 in the final UPI poll.
With Smith on the sidelines Mizzou enjoyed a 97-63-10 overall mark and he was later inducted into the Mizzou Athletics Hall of Fame in 2002.
"I'm very sad to learn of Coach Smith's passing," Head Coach Gary Pinkel said. "I'm really proud that I personally had a chance to get to know him over the years, what a great life he lived. He had an unbelievable impact on so many people in and out of football, just a tremendous influence on all of the people he touched. I think being able to have Coach Smith be part of our program has been one of the highlights of my time at Mizzou, it's been really special to be around him and to talk to all of his players and to see how much he meant to them. Mizzou lost one of its greats today, and I lost a good friend, we're going to miss him dearly."
Nicknamed "Blackjack" for the cast he wore on his hand during the 1939 season, Smith earned All-America recognition following the 1938 and 1939 seasons. He also played on two Rose Bowl squads before being named to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1955.
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