FOLLOW @JAVIERJMORALES ON TWITTER!
Sixteen years after the last game he coached, and eight years after leukemia claimed his life, Larry Smith’s legacy on the football field lives on through his family.
The family is behind the burgeoning Larry Smith Coaching Academy (LSCA), which will stage a clinic at Tucson High School on April 30 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The LSCA is designed for youth football coaches who want to improve their coaching skills, increase their competitive edge and insure the safety of their players.
The Web site for the LSCA states its mission is to “educate youth and high school football coaches on the safety of the game and proper technique and fundamentals.”
One vivid memory of Smith’s years as Arizona’s coach from 1980 to 1986 was his son Corby toting his dad’s headphone wires on the sidelines, a true extension of his father.
His daughter Ali was supportive of her father’s profession, despite the many hours he spent at Arizona Stadium, instead of at home during the season. She remains close to the sport serving as vice president of Southern Arizona chapter of the National Football Foundation, where she is responsible for organizing banquets and events.
Some of the benefits to the Larry Smith Coach Academy:
Gain knowledge to help you provide a safe and fun experience for young athletes
Increase your knowledge of the latest offensive/defensive trends from your area’s most successful high school coaches
Hear first hand from concussion specialist who are directly involved in concussion research
Learn proper coaching techniques and fundamentals to insure the safety of your young athletes
Learn how to properly fit equipment to help reduce injury to players
Smith’s wife, Cheryl, charmed Tucson with her annual football class for women at Arizona, a unique way to get the community more involved with the program.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of Larry Smith’s last year as Arizona’s coach, leading the Wildcats to an upset over Rose Bowl-bound ASU and their first bowl victory in the Aloha Bowl over North Carolina. Smith went on to coach at USC and Missouri, but in retirement, he returned to Tucson, what he called home, before passing away in 2008.
His family is now carrying on his spirit for the game and love of the city through the coaching academy. Larry Smith, who was 48-28-3 at Arizona, will be inducted into the Arizona Sports Hall of Fame this fall.
Corby, the quarterback coach at Mesa Community College, is the CEO of the academy. Cheryl is the vice president and chief financial officer and Ali is the vice president and director of public affairs.
“His passion for the sport allowed him to want to help the youth coaches gain knowledge in order to make the youth playing experience more enjoyable,” Corby is quoted as saying on the LSCA Web site. “Safety was the key to this. I am honored to continue what he started.”
Ali mentions on the Web site: “My father touched many lives and was known for his integrity, loyalty and class. He treated everyone as an equal and it is my honor to help carry on his legacy through the Larry Smith Coaching Academy”
Former Arizona wide receiver Jay Dobyns, a noted retired special agent and veteran undercover operative with the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), will be the keynote speaker of the LSCA at Tucson High. Dobyns is a passionate motivational speaker. He got some of that passion from his former coach.
When I asked him recently about his greatest memory playing ASU, Dobyns said: “Coach Smith crying after the ’82 game (the first game of ‘The Streak’). That game was so important to him and his passion for it was contagious.”
Corby tweeted this post recently about the LSCA:
In order to register for the LSCA coaches are encouraged to visit the academy’s Web site.
ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.