Today is the 99th birthday of the father of Bronco football, Lyle Smith and he's still looking as spry as ever...even if he isn't rocking his signature fedora.
If'n you don't know much about Blue Turf's namesake...get learned up, son—Smith came to Boise Junior College in 1947 after a stint in the U.S. Navy during WWII and proceeded to go 9–0 in his first season. When Smith finally relinquished the coaching position 20 years later to take over as athletic director, he'd won 156 games (51 of which were shutouts)...and lost just 26. Smith also guided the mid-century Broncos to 13 conference titles and a JC National Championship (in 1958). What many forget about Smith was that he took a one year leave from the program in 1951 (he was 37-1 his first four years at the helm) to report for naval duty at the outset of the Korean War. When he returned to his coaching post the following year, he promptly went 8-1 and won his 5th straight conference crown. All told, Smith coached the Broncos for 8 whole seasons before he failed to win a conference crown and even then, the Broncos went 7-2.
Smith has remained a big part of the Bronco family throughout his life and can regularly be seen at practices, bowl games or BAA events. Smith even helped serve as a key advisor to Gene Bleymeier during the rocky AD transition period in 1982 when Michael Mulally got sacked by president John Keiser over an unpopular ticketing proposal (a policy that they pretty much still adopted years later). Yes, Smith is as true blue as they come...even in spite of this (it's a University of Idaho yearbook). Happy Birthday, Lyle...and many more!
Oh...one more "Lyle Smith is awesome" story to share...when he was head coach at Moscow High School, the team needed a mascot, and seeing how they were (and still are) the Moscow Bears, Smith just went out and "procured" one for them. Lyle Smith was good at all the things.