Chris Smith (basketball, born 1939)

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Chris Smith (born March 31, 1939) starred in basketball at Virginia Tech from 1958-61. He was nicknamed "Moose" at Charleston High School in West Virginia where he played as a 6-foot-6 center during an era of exceptional local talent in what was then known as the Kanawha Valley.[1][2] Smith was later dubbed "the human pogo stick" by former Roanoke sportswriter Bill Brill.[3] During the 1961 NBA Draft, Smith was the highest draft choice for any Virginia Tech basketball player ever when he was selected as the fourteenth overall choice by the NBA's Syracuse Nationals.[4] In 1982, he was the only basketball player inducted as a charter member to Virginia Tech's Hall-of-Fame.[5]

Smith still holds the following Virginia Tech rebounding records:[2] Rebounds per Game: 36; Season Rebounds: 495; Career Rebounds: 1508; Season Average Rebounds per Game: 20.4; Career Average Rebounds per Game: 17.1;

Smith is the State of Virginia's DIvision I NCAA leader in career average rebounds per game of all time.[3] He is still ranked 26th nationally for career average rebounds per game (17.1) and 24th nationally for total career rebounds (1508) as listed all-time for Division I players by the Official 2008 NCAA Men's Basketball Records Book.[6] His career average rebound record of 17.1 rebounds per game is the current record for the State of Virginia.[7]

In addition, Smith has the Southern Conference Tournament rebounding records of 28 rebounds for a single game and 71 rebounds for three games.[7] These records were established in 1960 and have been the Southern Conference Tournament rebounding records for more than 50 years.

According to the 2009-2010 Virginia Tech Basketball Program, Smith "is regarded by many as the greatest basketball player in school history". In 2010, he was chosen to represent the Hokies at the annual 2010 Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament's Legends Class.[2][8]

Also in 2010, ESPN selected Chris Smith as the "Best Player" in the history of the Virginia Tech Basketball Program as documented by ESPN's recently published and printed ESPN College Basketball Encoclopedia.[9]

The 1959-60 Hokies were the first Tech team to win 20 games in a season.[3] The 1959-1960 Virginia Tech Team won the Southern Conference Championship with a record of 12-1.[6] While Smith played for Coach Chuck Noe, they won their last 26 straight home games at War Memorial Gymnasium.[7] This winning home streak was extended to 41 straight wins in the newly built Cassell Coliseum after Smith graduated and is the current Virginia State record for consecutive home wins.[7]

In 1959, Chris Smith was a First Team All-Southern Conference Selection. In 1960, he was a unanimous 1960 First Team All-Southern Conference Selection along with Jerry West. In 1961, Smith was the captain of the All-Southern Conference team.[7] In 1960, he was selected as a Converse Second Team All-American.

Sports Illustrated featured the Virginia Tech basketball team on December 26, 1960. That issue stated the following:

Clearly the best performer on the floor was Tech's 6-foot-6 center Chris Smith, who scored 24 points and had 21 rebounds. The next night he led Tech to an 81-54 victory over Baylor and was chosen as the Classic's most valuable player. He is a square-jawed, crew-cut battler whose sheer strength and spring will surely bring him All-American honors this year.[10]

Frequent news articles still appear that document events during Smith's playing career such as Jennings Culley's July 22, 2001 article in the Richmond Times titled "Tech Basketball Recruits said 'Noe' to West Virginia";[11] Jack Bogaczyk's February 25, 2009 article about the second college basketball game in the Charleston Civic Center between Marshall and Virginia Tech;[12] and MSN Sports November 16, 2008 article about Chuck Noe's successful basketball recruiting in West Virginia for Virginia Tech during the 1950s.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. NBA Draft History 1961
  2. Official Site of the Virginia Tech Hokies Hall of Fame
  3. NCAA 2009-10 Official Men's Basketball Records Book
  4. SI Vault
  1. ^ a b John Antonik (November 16, 2008). "Golden Memories: 50th Anniversary of the 1959 Season". Mountaineer Sports Network. Retrieved January 30, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c Sports Staff Writers (January 27, 2010). "Charleston's Smith named Hokie Legend by the ACC". Charleston Daily Mail. Retrieved January 31, 2010. 
  3. ^ a b c J. Markon (October 11, 2007). "Catching Up With Chris Smith". Richmond Times Dispatch. 
  4. ^ "NBA Draft History 1961". Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved January 30, 2010. 
  5. ^ "Virginia Tech Sports Hall of Fame". Virginia Tech Athletics Department. Retrieved January 30, 2010. 
  6. ^ a b "2009-10 NCAA Men's Basketball Records Book" (PDF). National Collegiate Athletic Association. Retrieved January 30, 2010. 
  7. ^ a b c d e Smith, Chris (2006). It's More Than Just Winning!. Chris Smith Publishing. ISBN 1-4243-0508-X. 
  8. ^ "ACC Announces the 2010 Men's Basketball Tournament Legends". Retrieved January 31, 2010. 
  9. ^ ESPN (2009). ESPN College Basketball Encyclopedia. ESPN. ISBN 978-0-345-51392-2. 
  10. ^ Arlie W. Schardt (December 26, 1960). "Chuck Noe Vs. The South". Sports Illustrated Vault. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. Retrieved January 30, 2010. 
  11. ^ Jennings Culley (July 22, 2001). "Tech basketball recruits said 'Noe' to West Virginia". Richmond Times Dispatch. p. D9. 
  12. ^ >Jack Bogaczyk (February 2, 2009). "VPI's Smith, Marshall's Williams played key rols in arena's second college game". Charleston Daily Mail.