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.
MCC NCAA South Regional Tallahassee, Fla.
Nov 14 13 of 22
WCC NCAA South Regional Tallahassee, Fla.
Nov 14 23 of 29
VB ETSU 3 Charleston, S.C.
Nov 14 The Citadel 1
WBB ETSU 81 Final
Nov 14 University of North Carolina at Asheville 68
MBB ETSU 76 F
Nov 14 Valparaiso 90
VB ETSU 3 Macon, Ga.
Nov 15 Mercer University 1
WBB High Point University 76 Final
Nov 17 ETSU 84
MBB Virginia-Wise 66 F
Nov 18 ETSU 111
WBB Appalachian State University 76 Final
Nov 19 ETSU 70
WBB ETSU 79 Final
Nov 21 Saint Francis University 63
VB ETSU Greensboro, N.C.
Nov 22, 12:00 p.m. No. 5 Western Carolina (SoCon Quarterfinal)
MBB UNC Asheville 87 F
Nov 22, 12:00 p.m. ETSU 98
MBB ETSU Rock Hill, S.C.
Nov 24, 7:00 p.m. Winthrop
WBB ETSU Terre Haute, Ind.
Nov 24, 8:00 p.m. Indiana State University
WBB ETSU Bloomington, Ind.
Nov 26, 2:00 p.m. Indiana University
WBB ETSU Blacksburg, Va.
Nov 29, 5:00 p.m. Virginia Tech University
MBB ETSU Morehead, Ky.
Dec 1, 7:00 p.m. Morehead State
WBB ETSU Fairfax, Va.
Dec 3, 5:00 p.m. George Mason University
MBB Western Carolina Freedom Hall
Dec 3, 8:00 p.m. ETSU