Homer Smith Still Going Strong

One of the things I do not take for granted is the opportunity to hob-nob with important sports figures. I don't mean that Coach Nick Saban and I sit around and shoot the breeze. But there are former Crimson Tide coaching greats who are in Tuscaloosa and who are my friends.

Men like former Alabama Basketball Coach C.M. Newton and his outstanding assistant coach John Bostick could live anywhere. They chose Tuscaloosa. There's a group of former assistant football coaches who left The University of Alabama, but returned to or continued to live in Tuscaloosa when their coaching days were over. Among the most prominent is Homer Smith.

I get to see Coach Smith on quite a few occasions, some social and some by my design. When I was writing my new book, "Game Changers – The Greatest Plays in Alabama Football History," I spent time in Coach Smith's home library. Surrounded by tomes such as "The Harvard Classics" on crammed bookshelves, he drew up Xs and Os, remembering long ago situations and the defenses those plays were designed to confound.

We talked about the quarterbacks he tutored, Gary Hollingsworth and Jay Barker. And though I should be beyond it, he continues to amaze me with his thoughts on football. He is an expert on several aspects of offensive football and the unquestioned authority on clock management. His material on that subject has been purchased by virtually every college and pro football team – with the possible exception of Les Miles at LSU.

Coach Smith is a huge fan of the Crimson Tide, although he spent only four of his 39 years in coaching at Alabama.

When Alabama fans talk about their favorite football coaches, it's not long before the name "Homer Smith" comes up. It will be my honor to introduce him at a speaking engagement tonight.

In preparing that introduction, I came to the conclusion that it would be easy to leave him no time for his address. His resume is beyond impressive. It is staggering. I can hit only the highlights.

He first came to Alabama as offensive coordinator in 1988 under Bill Curry. In 1989, Jeff Dunn was injured late in the Tide's second game, against Kentucky. You could have gotten odds that Bama wouldn't win another game. But unknown Gary Hollingsworth came off the bench, led Alabama to a share of the Southestern Conference championship, and Hollingsworth and four other Tide offensive players were All-SEC.

He had another two-year stint at Alabama under Gene Stallings, 1994 and 1995. In his first season with Jay Barker at quarterback, Barker won the SEC Player of the Year and the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award. He set Alabama records for career attempts, completions and yardage.

Homer Smith was an all-star fullback at Princeton, where he earned a degree in economics. He got into coaching at Stanford, where he earned an MBA. He was an assistant at the Air Force Academy. Then came five years as head coach at Davidson, two years as head coach at College of Pacific. He had the first of his three stints at UCLA as assistant head coach and offensive coordinator. He spent five years as head coach at Army. After that he took a break from coaching to earn his Master's Degree in Theology. He returned to UCLA, then went to the Kansas City Chiefs and finally landed at Bama. Between jobs under Curry and Stallings, he was back at UCLA. After leaving Alabama for a second time he went to Arizona for a year and then retired from football.

Remember the Rose Bowl? He's coached there four times. He's also coached in the Citrus, Fiesta, Sugar, Tangerine, Freedom, Bluebonnet, Sun, Gator, and Insight.com Bowls.

In 2007 he was presented the American Football Coaches Association's Outstanding Achievement Award. . In 1990 The Sporting News named him Offensive Coach of the Year, and in 1997 he was a finalist for the Broyles Award, which goes to the nation's top assistant coach.

Basically, everywhere he coached there were record-breaking offensive performances by teams and individuals.

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. He has mapped out his Offensive Theories in the form of Seventeen Manuals which are sold through his website, HomerSmith.net. Most recently he published "The Complete Handbook of Clock Management" available through Amazon.com. He has published over 240 articles.

Coach Smith currently works with High School football players in Georgia and Alabama, advises coaches, writes, plays golf, and travels with his wife.

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