Head Football Coach and Athletic Director
St. Thomas Aquinas High School (Fort Lauderdale)
George Smith’s 32-year career as a head football coach has led to a 333- 65 overall record and five state
championships for St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale.
Smith grew up in Lafayette, Indiana, playing football for Lafayette Central Catholic until graduation in 1966.
He also played college football for Butler University for two years before moving to Purdue University and
pursuing a degree in physical education, which he obtained in 1971.
St. Thomas hired Smith as a history teacher, assistant football and track & field coach, and head wrestling
coach in 1972. As a coach of the new wrestling program, he had an overall record of 86-30 over the next seven
years, and was the Wrestling Coach of the Year in 1973-74 for the Miami Herald and twice for the South Atlantic
Smith became the head football coach in 1975 and quickly built the program into a powerhouse. Since then, the Raiders have won 19 district championships, had eight undefeated regular seasons with one perfect 14-0 season, and recorded five state runner-up finishes and three state championships. Smith is a multiple winner of both The Miami Herald and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel Football Coach of the Year awards, and has coached many players who have excelled in college and professional sports, most notable former Dallas Cowboy and NFL Hall of Fame member, Michael Irvin. Smith is the first Florida football coach to register 250 wins with one school.
Smith also took on the role of athletic director in 1982. The St. Thomas Aquinas athletic program has won more than 50 state championships during his tenure, and has won its classification in the Dodge Sunshine Cup FHSAA Floyd E. Lay All-Sports Awards each year since it began in 1995. It has been The Miami Herald Athletic Program of the Year for more than 20 years, and in May 2005 was designated the third best high school athletic program in the nation by Sports Illustrated.
Smith is a 2005 Inductee into the Florida High School Athletic Hall of Fame, a member of the Florida Athletic Coaches Association Hall of Fame and the Broward County Sports Hall of Fame. He is a member of the American Football Coaches Association and has served on its school and public relations committees. Smith is also a popular football speaker across the country.
THE SMITH YEARS GEORGE SMITH, St. THOMAS AQUINAS HEAD COACH
Graduates from Central Catholic High School in Lafayette, Indiana.
Smith marries Carole Blakesley in January 1970.
Graduates from Purdue University
Following his graduation from Purdue University, Smith moves to Fort Lauderdale in the Fall to teach at St. Thomas Aquinas. He is an
assistant coach under Mike Gallagher, head football coach.
Daughter Mandy is born in August.
After the 1974 season, appointed head football coach by Father Vincent T. Kelly, Principal. Replaced Dave Franks who served as head
football coach for two years.
On September 13, 1975 in the season opener against Monsignor Pace Spartans (Miami). Smith records his first victory as a head coach
winning 27-7. Raiders finish the season at 7-3.
Raiders defeat Cardinal Gibbons Redskins (Fort Lauderdale), 14-6, in first home game played at on-campus Brian Piccolo Memorial Stadium.
Raiders defeat Archbishop Curley Knights (Miami) 45-13 on November 21, 1980 for his 50th victory.
Smith becomes athletic director.
On September 25, 1986 the South Plantation Paladins fall to the Raiders 34-13. Smith celebrates his 100th victory.
Only losing season as head coach, as Raiders end season at 4-6.
St. Thomas reaches the state football championship final for the first time in school history. The Raiders enter the game with a 13-0 record,
but lose to the Fort Walton Beach Vikings 39-14 with future 1996 Heisman Trophy winner, Danny Wuerffel at quarterback.
Win #150 comes against the Nova Titans (Davie) on November 13, 1992. Raiders finish with both a perfect 14-0 season and the state championship defeating Tallahassee Leon 24-9 at Florida Field in Gainesville. The perfect season (14-0) and state championship were the first in the school’s history. Smith retires as head coach, but continues as athletic director.
Smith returns as head coach replacing Mike Spencer.
Raiders reach the state football championship final for the for the 3rd time in the 90's, but lose to the Lakeland Dreadnaughts, 40-67, at Municipal Stadium, in Daytona Beach.
The Raiders win their second state championship by defeating the Springfield Rutherford Rams 13-10 at Florida Field. Final record is 14-1.
On a Friday night at Brian Piccolo Stadium, the Fort Lauderdale Flying L’s lose to the Raiders 35-7 as Smith’s win # 200 is recorded. Raiders finish at 11-2.
For the third time in the 90’s, Aquinas wins a state championship. The victory was over the Pensacola Escambia Gators 38-35 at Florida Field. Raiders finish season at 13-1.
Granddaughter, Kira Jean Chandler, is born in June to Mandy and Roger Chandler.
Raiders lose state championship game to the Pensacola Pine Forest Eagles in triple overtime, 34-27 at Florida Field.
Raiders lose state championship game to the Tallahassee Lincoln Trojans, 28-20, at Doak Campbell Stadium Field, on the Florida State University campus.
Granddaughter, Kylee Lake Chandler, is born in May to Mandy and Roger Chandler.
Reaches 250 career wins with 34-15 defeat of the Dillard Panthers (Fort Lauderdale) on September 27, 2002. Finishes season with an all-time
winning percentage of .822.
Reaches 275 career wins with 38-14 defeat of Delray Atlantic in the first round of the playoffs on November 12, 2004. Raiders lose state championship game to the Lakeland Dreadnaughts, 31-7, at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Florida Field, Gainesville.
Raiders lose state championship game to the Lakeland Dreadnaughts at Dolphin Stadium, Miami, 39-10.
Reaches 300 career wins with 45-7 defeat of Western (Davie) in the final regular season game on October 27, 2006. Smith becomes one of five Florida prep coaches with at least 300 wins. Of the five members in Florida's 300-win club, Smith is the only coach to have won every game with one school. Raiders lose 3rd consecutive state championship game to the Lakeland Dreadnaughts in double overtime, 45-42, at Dolphin Stadium, Miami.
Raiders defeat the Kissimmee Osceola Kowboys 35-20 to capture the Class 5A state championship -- the school's first football title since 1999 and fourth overall in 11 finals appearances -- in front of 9,250 fans at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando. Raiders finish season at 14-1.
The Florida High School Athletic Association, as part of its celebration of “100 Years of Florida High School Football,” names Smith to the 12-member coaching staff for the FHSAA All-Century Football Team.
Raiders defeat Lakeland Dreadnaughts, 56-7, to win their second consecutive Class 5A state championship at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando. The school's fifth title in 12 appearances. Aquinas finishes with a record of 15-0 which is a record for wins in a season.
The Raiders traveled to Cincinatti, Ohio to play in their first-ever out of state game, defeating Elder (Cinci) 35-24 in the Herbstreit Challenge Series.
Coach Smith's all-time record moves to 333-65 with a playoff record of 62-19 in 32 seasons as Raider head coach.
St. Thomas Aquinas is ranked the consensus number 1 team in the nation. The Raiders were rated as the top team by USA Today, ESPN/Rise, PrepNation, RivalsHigh.com, Max Preps, Cal Preps and Massey Ratings.
USA Today selects Smith as the National High School Football Coach of the Year.
Smith is honored by the American Football Coaches Association as the 2008 Power of Influence Award recipient during the association's Coach of the Year dinner at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville, Tenn. on January 13, 2009.
A new 28,000 square foot state-of-the-art on campus athletics facility — used for both boys and girls sports — is named in his honor: The George Smith Athletics Center.
Coach Smith is selected as the 46th of the 50 most powerful People in Broward County, Florida by Gold Coast Magazine.