ETSU Hall of Fame: Smith was a hit long before coaching called
Mike Smith's trek to the NFL began in ETSU's Memorial Center..
Mike Smith's trek to the NFL began in ETSU's Memorial Center..

Sunday, May 05, 2013

Editor's note: The following Johnson City Press story is the sixth in a series of six daily features profiling the 2013 ETSU Athletics Hall of Fame class, leading up to the induction ceremony Sunday at the Millennium Center in Johnson City. The event will begin at 5:30 p.m., and tickets may be purchased by calling  423-439-4343 . ETSUBucs.com is providing an excerpt from each day's story courtesy of the Johnson City Press.

 

By TREY WILLIAMS

Press Sports Writer

Mike Smith had a nose for the football, a head for the game and an undersized body willing to shoulder the load at middle linebacker.

Smith, who will be inducted into the ETSU Hall of Fame today, made an East Tennessee State record 186 tackles as a senior in 1981. The sixth-year Atlanta Falcons’ head coach also led the Buccaneers with 120 stops in ‘80. It’s ETSU’s highest two-year total, and was recorded by a player that some say was generously listed at 6-foot, 200 pounds.

“If you’d looked at Smitty, size wise, you would not have thought he played linebacker – middle linebacker, at that,” said ETSU Hall of Famer Donnie Cook, an All-American defensive back. “I was a safety and I weighed more than he did. But I sure didn’t want to hit him, because he came with it; he used his entire body. He would hit you with weight you didn’t think he had.”

Former Bucs assistant coaches Pete Kuharchek and Mike Hennigan graded the film the season Smith made 186 stops, and Kuharchek said the tally was accurate.

Smith missed the 1979 season with an injury, and coaches say he diligently studied film scouting opponents and was essentially an extra coach that season, which Smith fondly recalls being highlighted by a 35-0 rout of undefeated and nationally ranked Chattanooga.

Click on the "Related Link" button located to the right for the complete Johnson City Press article.
Follow ETSU Athletics on Twitter Twitter and become a fan on Facebook Facebook.
WTRACK Tennessee Relays Knoxville, Tenn.
Apr 10 Results
MTRACK Tennessee Relays Knoxville, Tenn.
Apr 10 Results
WTRACK Beynon Sports Catamount Classic Cullowhee, N.C.
Apr 10 Results
MTRACK Beynon Sports Catamount Classic Cullowhee, N.C.
Apr 10 Results
MTEN ETSU 7 Macon, Ga.
Apr 10 Mercer 0
WTEN ETSU 7 Spartanburg, S.C.
Apr 10 USC Upstate 0
BB ETSU 8 Lexington, Va.
Apr 10 Virginia Military 4
MTRACK Beynon Sports Catamount Classic Cullowhee, N.C.
Apr 11 Results
WTRACK Beynon Sports Catamount Classic Cullowhee, N.C.
Apr 11 Results
MTEN ETSU 7 Chattanooga, Tenn.
Apr 11 Chattanooga 0
BB ETSU 9 Lexington, Va.
Apr 11 Virginia Military 6
WGOLF Southern Conference Championships Savannah, Ga.
Apr 12 6th of 9
WTEN ETSU 5 Greenville, S.C.
Apr 12 Furman 2
BB ETSU 4 Lexington, Va.
Apr 12 Virginia Military 5
MGOLF The Greenbrier Collegiate Invitational White Sulphur Springs, W. Va.
Apr 13 Results
MGOLF The Greenbrier Collegiate Invitational White Sulphur Springs, W. Va.
Apr 14 1st of 13
SB Tennessee 11 Johnson City, Tenn.
Apr 14 ETSU 0
BB Appalachian St. PPD
Apr 14 ETSU
WTEN UNC Greensboro 1 Bristol, Tenn.
Apr 15 ETSU 6