Larry Smith


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

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I recently came across a handwritten letter I received from Coach Smith on USC Trojan letterhead (specifically his personal Head Coach stationery) in late Dec 1992 -- just days before the devastating Freedom Bowl loss to Fresno State. It was a "get well" letter offering prayers and good wishes while yours truly was in the midst of a year-long daily physical therapy regimen in the aftermath of a life-threatening auto accident. I still marvel at how he took time out of his busy...

It was a real pleasure and privilege to play for Larry; he was one of my heroes. He was a fine man and truly left his mark on me. I often think of him in those situations where leadership and courage are demanded of me.
I hope you are doing well. We miss him and need more like him in my opinion.

I worked for Coach as a student equpment mgr, I always liked the passion he showed on the sidelines.
He was a winner.

God bless

Memories of this "Gentle Giant" from your Tulane days, you were a wonderful neighbor and friend. I'll always cherish your family and friendship. May God's blessing and comfort carry this family thru their loss.

Our thoughts are with the Smith family at this difficult time. Larry was one of a kind, and touched everyone he befriended, espically our family in So. Calif. He will be greatly missed, but never forgotten.
Paul, Lauri & Jeff Roberts
He fought the good fight!

Rest in Peace Larry.

So sad to hear of this.May God bless that family and friends.He is at peace finally.That's the best thing for him.His legacy will always live on.

Having been employed at the UA.,I had the good fortune of knowing Larry Smith and his family since 1972.Both being old Ohio boys,our relationship grew. Fortunately, I got to know the Coach on a personal level. He surely will be missed and I know in my heart he will be 'first string on God's team', A TRUE ALL AMERICAN. With love and sadness.