Mike Smith (American football coach)

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Mike Smith
Mike Smith (American football coach) 2013 02.jpg
Smith in 2013
Current position
Title Head coach
Team Atlanta Falcons
Personal information
Date of birth (1959-06-13) June 13, 1959 (age 55)
Place of birth Chicago, Illinois
Career information
Position(s) Linebacker
College East Tennessee State University
Career highlights
Awards 2008 AP NFL Coach of the Year
Head coaching record
Regular season 59–33 (.641)
Postseason 1–4 (.200)
Career record 60–37 (.619)
Team(s) as a coach/administrator
1982
1983–1985
1986
1987
1988–1995
1996–1998
1999–2001
2002
2003–2007
2008–present
San Diego State (GA)
San Diego State (LB)
Morehead State (DL)
Tennessee Tech (DL)
Tennessee Tech (ST)
Tennessee Tech (DC)
Baltimore Ravens (DA/DL)
Baltimore Ravens (LB)
Jacksonville Jaguars (DC)
Atlanta Falcons (HC)

Mike Smith, known colloquially as Smitty, (born June 13, 1959) is an American football coach. He is the current head coach for the National Football League's Atlanta Falcons, a position he has held since 2008. He previously served as the defensive coordinator for the Jacksonville Jaguars from 2003 until his hiring in Atlanta. In his first season as Falcons head coach, Smith was recipient of the NFL Coach of the Year Award by the Associated Press.

Biography[edit]

Early years[edit]

Raised in Daytona Beach, Florida, Smith played linebacker at Father Lopez Catholic High School, earning All-State honors. He played collegiately for East Tennessee State University between 1977 and 1981, and was chosen as defensive MVP twice. He briefly played professionally for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the Canadian Football League, for the 1982 season, before retiring as a player.

Coaching career[edit]

Smith decided to take up coaching after his playing days were over, starting in various assistant capacities with several Division I colleges before moving on to the NFL: San Diego State (1982–1985), Morehead State (1986) and Tennessee Tech (1987–1998). His first NFL job was as defensive assistant/defensive line coach for the Baltimore Ravens in 1999 under defensive line coach Rex Ryan for three seasons. In 2002, he was promoted to linebackers' coach for head coach Brian Billick, tutoring such future standouts as Ray Lewis, Peter Boulware, Jamie Sharper and Adalius Thomas, and in that capacity helped the 2000 Ravens win Super Bowl XXXV. On January 21, 2003 he was again promoted, moving on to be defensive coordinator of the Jacksonville Jaguars for incoming head coach Jack Del Rio.

In 2008, he became head coach for the first time at any level, taking charge of the Atlanta Falcons and starting off his first season by installing rookie Matt Ryan as starting quarterback to open the season against the Detroit Lions. In his debut as an NFL head coach, his Falcons beat the Lions 34–21. Atlanta’s 216 yards of total offense in the first quarter was the highest in over two decades, eclipsing their October 13, 1991 mark of 172 yards against San Francisco. His first loss, against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, was mitigated by winning his first coach's challenge, on the spotting of the ball after a Roddy White reception in the third quarter, giving the Falcons a first down and keeping the drive alive. Stars like Michael Turner, Roddy White, Michael Jenkins and John Abraham helped him carry the Falcons to their first playoff berth since 2004, although they lost fairly narrowly to the eventual NFC champion Arizona Cardinals in the wild-card round of the 2008 NFL playoffs. He was named the 2008 AP Coach of the year and NFL Coach of the Year, beating out Miami Dolphins head coach Tony Sparano in the voting.[1]

In his second season, Smith and the Falcons overcame a difficult schedule and several key injuries (to QB Ryan and RB Turner) to end up with a 9-7 finish and second place in the NFC South. While they failed to reach the playoffs, this marked the first time the team had ever had back-to-back winning seasons. In 2010, he led the Falcons to a NFC-best season record of 13-3, earning the team's second NFC South title and fourth divisional championship overall before being thrashed at home by the eventual Super Bowl XLV champions, the Green Bay Packers, 48-21 in the NFC Divisional Round.

The 2011 season ended with another winning record (10-6) and Smith's third playoff appearance (unfortunately, a first-round rout, by another eventual Super Bowl champion, the New York Giants. Under Smith, the Falcons have had winning seasons in all five years of his tenure to date, and three consecutive playoff seasons, both franchise records.

In the 2012 season, Smith earned his 50th win by defeating the Philadelphia Eagles on October 28th, passing Dan Reeves as the winningest coach in Falcons history.[2] Smith reached 50 wins in 71 games, which is good for 3rd best all-time since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970, surpassed only by Chuck Knox who earned his 50th win in 65 games and by George Seifert in 62 games.[3]

On January 13, 2013, Smith recorded his first win in the postseason as Falcons head coach, edging the Seattle Seahawks 30-28 in the 2012 NFC Divisional Playoffs. With the win, Atlanta also made their 3rd all-time appearance in the NFC Championship Game, and hosted the game for the first time in their history against the San Francisco 49ers. The Falcons were beaten 28-24 after taking the lead 10-0 in the 1st Quarter. [4]

Smith was named Sporting News 2012 Coach of the Year[5] by a pool of 27 NFL coaches and executives.

In the 2013 season, the Falcons slumped to a 4-12 record, and Smith was eventually named the head coach of the North Team in the 2014 Senior Bowl.[6]

Head coaching record[edit]

Team Year Regular Season Post Season
Won Lost Ties Win % Finish Won Lost Win % Result
ATL 2008 11 5 0 .688 2nd in NFC South 0 1 .000 Lost to Arizona Cardinals in NFC Wild-Card Game.
ATL 2009 9 7 0 .563 2nd in NFC South - - - -
ATL 2010 13 3 0 .813 1st in NFC South 0 1 .000 Lost to Green Bay Packers in NFC Divisional Game.
ATL 2011 10 6 0 .625 2nd in NFC South 0 1 .000 Lost to New York Giants in NFC Wild-Card Game.
ATL 2012 13 3 0 .813 1st in NFC South 1 1 .500 Lost to San Francisco 49ers in NFC Championship Game
ATL 2013 4 12 0 .250 3rd in NFC South - - - -
ATL Total 60 36 0 .625 1 4 .200
Total[7] 60 36 0 .625 1 4 .200

Coaching tree[edit]

NFL head coaches under whom Mike Smith has served:

Assistant coaches under Mike Smith who became NFL head coaches:

Personal[edit]

Smith is the oldest of eight children. Mike and his wife, Julie, have one daughter, Logan who is thirteen years old and goes to Greater Atlanta Christian School. Mike is the brother-in-law of former NFL head coach Brian Billick.

References[edit]

  1. ^ AP names Smith NFL Coach of the Year
  2. ^ Cox, Daniel. "Smith Sets Franchise Record With 50th Win". atlantafalcons.com - News. atlantafalcons.com. Retrieved 30 October 2012. 
  3. ^ Yasinskas, Pat. "Mike Smith is in good company". ESPN.com NFC South Blog. ESPN.com. Retrieved 30 October 2012. 
  4. ^ "Seahawks vs. Falcons Divisional Playoff recap". NFL.com. Retrieved 13 January 2013. 
  5. ^ "Mike Smith voted Sporting News' Coach of the Year". Retrieved 25 January 2013. 
  6. ^ DiRocco, Michael (2 January 2014). "Mike Smith, Gus Bradley to coach". ESPN. Retrieved 12 January 2014. 
  7. ^ Mike Smith Record, Statistics, and Category Ranks - Pro-Football-Reference.com

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
John Pease
Jacksonville Jaguars Defensive Coordinator
2003–2007
Succeeded by
Gregg Williams