Getting to know

Lovie Smith's defense forced a league-high 46 turnovers this season, but statistically ranked lower than the Bears defense.

Smith, considered one of the outstanding young NFL coaches, came to the Rams after helping develop the hard-hitting, swarming defense of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, for whom Smith coached linebackers from 1996-2000.

Tampa Bay was fourth in the NFC in defense in 2000 and linebacker Derrick Brooks earned his fourth consecutive Pro Bowl invitation and amassed at least 175 tackles for the fourth straight season.

A native of Big Sandy, Texas, Smith led the Big Sandy Wildcats to three consecutive state championships in high school and was all-state three years as an end and linebacker. Smith was a two-time all-America and three-time all-Missouri Conference defensive back at Tulsa University.

Smith began his coaching career at Big Sandy High in 1980, moved to Cascia Hall Prep in Tulsa the following year, then was on the Tulsa University coaching staff as linebackers coach from 1983-86. Lovie coached linebackers in 1987 at Wisconsin, at Arizona State (1988-91), and at Kentucky (1992). Smith was defensive backs coach at Tennessee (1993-94) and at Ohio State (1995).

Lovie is married (MaryAnne) and has three sons, Mikal, Matthew, and Miles, and twin grandsons, Malachi and Noah. The Smiths reside in Chesterfield, Missouri.

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