Inductee Details

Smith, Lovie

Big Sandy

 Played a vital role on one of the great defenses in the history of Texas high school football when he helped Big Sandy win three consecutive state championships in 1973, 1974 and 1975. Smith, Big Sandy’s middle linebacker, and the Wildcats surrendered just 15 points during the 1975 campaign when they went 14-0 and defeated Groom 26-2 for the Class B state title. His bio on the Illinois athletics website states that Smith was an All-State selection at defensive end and linebacker and that he twice earned All-American honors at Tulsa during his college career. After his college playing career, Smith returned to Big Sandy as the Wildcats’ defensive coordinator. That began a prestigious coaching career that is still going. Smith coached defense in college from 1983 to 1995. Then he left Ohio State as the defensive backs coach to join the staff of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He eventually became the defensive coordinator for the St. Louis Rams and head coach of the Chicago Bears and Buccaneers before returning to college football as head coach at Illinois in 2016.