Terry Smith (American football)

Terry M. Smith (born July 29, 1969) is an American college football coach and former player. He played college football at Penn State and is currently the assistant head coach, defensive recruiting coordinator and Cornerbacks coach for his college alma mater.

Terry M. Smith
Current position
TitleCornerbacks coach
TeamPenn State
ConferenceBig Ten
Biographical details
Born (1969-07-29) July 29, 1969 (age 51)
Alma materPenn State
Playing career
1987–1991Penn State (College)
1992Washington (NFL)
1993Toronto (CFL)
1994–1995Shreveport (CFL)
1996Albany (Arena)
Position(s)Wide Receiver
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1996Hempfield HS (Assistant)
1997–2000Duquesne (passing coordinator)
2001Gateway HS (OC)
2002–2012Gateway HS
2013Temple (WR)
2014–presentPenn State (CB)

Early lifeEdit

Originally from Aliquippa, Pa,[1] Smith and his family moved to Monroeville, Pa where he was a star quarterback for the Gateway Gators. Smith led the Gators to back-to-back WPIAL football titles in 1985 and 1986.[2] Considered one of the greatest WPIAL championships ever played,[3] the 1986 game featured an undefeated Gateway team and a North Hills team who was ranked No. 1 in the country by USA Today. Smith scored Gateways only touchdown as they defeated North Hills 7–6 in front of more than 20,000 fans at Three Rivers Stadium.[4]

College playing careerEdit

Nicknamed Superfly, Smith, was a four-year letter winner from 1988–91 with the Nittany Lions who still ranks among the schools’ best with 108 career receptions and 15 receiving touchdowns.[5][6] During the 1991 season, posting a 40-yard dash time of 4.4 seconds, Smith came up big against USC, grabbing 10 receptions to tie a Penn State single-game mark and gaining 165 yards to set a new school record.[6] His Senior season, Smith broke school records with 55 catches for 846 yards and eight scores, helping Penn State to an 11–2 record and a Fiesta Bowl victory over Tennessee.[7] After breaking the single season receptions record in a game against Rutgers, Joe Paterno said about Smith, "I don't know whether there's a better wideout in the country as far as what he does. He catches the ball, he blocks, he runs with the ball, he's in the football game -- he's just a great player."[8]

Professional playing careerEdit

Drafted by the Washington Redskins in the 11th round of the 1992 NFL draft , Smith spent the following three seasons with the Toronto Argonauts and the Shreveport Pirates of the Canadian Football League. Smith also spent one season with the Albany Firebirds of the Arena league in 1996.[9][10]

Coaching careerEdit

Early coaching careerEdit

In 1996, Smith began his coaching career as an assistant at Hempfield High School. From there Smith spent the next four seasons as the passing coordinator for the Duquesne Dukes. In 2001, Smith returned to his high school alma mater the Gateway Gators where he served as the offensive coordinator.[9]

The following season Smith was named as the Gators Head Coach and over the next eleven seasons Smith led Gateway to a 101-30 mark and four WPIAL runner-up finishes.[5] In that time Smith sent 23 players to NCAA FBS (I-A) colleges and 17 more to FCS(I-AA) colleges,[11] and coached in three U.S. Army All-America and Semper Fidelis All-America games. He has mentored six NFL players, including former Nittany Lions Trevor Williams, Jordan Lucas, Justin King and Lydell Sargeant. Smith, who also served as the athletic director, departed Gateway following the 2012 football season when his athletic director position was reduced to part-time. His salary was also cut in half and the district instituted a new rule that no administrator could coach. Following a January recruiting visit in 2013, the Temple Owls coach and fellow Penn State alum Matt Rhule offered Smith a coaching position as his wide receivers coach.[1]

Smith accepted and helped the Owls’ passing game reach new heights during the 2013 season. Temple set a school record for passing yards with 2,996 and tied the school record with 23 receiving touchdowns.[12] Robby Anderson's 791 receiving yards in 2013 ranked fifth on the Owls' single season list, which included a school-record 249 yards vs. SMU.[13][14]

Penn StateEdit

In 2014, James Franklin hired Smith as the Penn State Nittany Lions’ defensive recruiting coordinator and cornerbacks coach, positions he currently maintains.[15] During his first season with the Nittany Lions, the defense finished second in total defense, eighth in scoring, second in pass efficiency and sixth in 3rd down conversion percentage nationally.[16] Junior cornerbacks Jordan Lucas and Trevor Williams earned honorable-mention All-Big Ten recognition.[17]

Smith's second season saw the secondary rank eighth nationally in passing yards allowed per game.[18] Senior cornerback Trevor Williams and sophomore Grant Haley each earned honorable mention All-Big Ten accolades in 2015.[19] Smith added the title of assistant head coach following the season.[20]

Lead by sophomore John Reid, who earned All-Big Ten honorable mention accolades, and Grant Haley, the cornerbacks made several key plays to help the Nittany Lions to the 2016 Big Ten Football Championship Game.[21]

In 2017 Smith's starting cornerbacks, Christian Campbell and Grant Haley, earned All-Big Ten honorable mention accolades, while backup cornerback Amani Oruwariye earned second team honors.[22] That season the Nittany Lions' defense helped Penn State to its second-straight New Year's Six bowl and a Top 10 finish. Also the 16.5 points allowed per game was the fewest since the 2008 team gave up 12.2 per contest.[23] Campbell was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals in the sixth round (182nd overall) of the 2018 NFL Draft.[24]

In 2018, cornerbacks Amani Oruwariye earned first team All-Big Ten honors, while John Reid received honorable mention.[25] Penn State secondary had one of its best seasons since 2014, finishing the season with 13 interceptions and allowing a 53.6 completion rate.[26] The Nittany Lions also held three opponents to 60 or less yards through the air, this was the first time PSU had accomplished this feat since the 1976 season.[27]

In 2019, cornerback Tariq Castro-Fields earned third team All-Big Ten honors.[28]


Smith received a Bachelors in business management, from the Pennsylvania State University. He and his wife, Alison, have a son, former PSU standout Justin King , and daughter, Haley.[15] Smith, is a class of 2018 WPIAL Hall of Fame inductee.[29]

External linksEdit


  1. ^ a b Harris, John."Ex-Gateway coach Smith mining for talent in Western Pa.", Trib Live, September 24, 2013. Retrieved January 27, 2018.
  2. ^ Harlan, Chris."Under Terry Smith, Gateway a WPIAL power again", Trib Live, August 29, 2010. retrieved January 27, 2018.
  3. ^ "WPIAL's Top 10 football champions of all time", Trib Live, November 20, 2014. retrieved January 27, 2018.
  4. ^ White, Mike."Gateway, North Hills revisit 1986 classic in playoffs", Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, November 6, 2003. retrieved January 27, 2018.
  5. ^ a b Moody, Walt."Penn State football: New assistant coach Terry Smith glad to be back home", Centre Daily Times, January 26, 2014. Retrieved January 24, 2018.
  6. ^ a b Martin, Chris."Airing it out", The Daily Collegian, September 21, 1991. Retrieved January 27, 2018.
  7. ^ "Former Lions receiver to coach all-star game", The Daily Collegian, January 14, 2005. Retrieved January 27, 2018
  8. ^ Stevenson, David."Smith sets single-season receiving record in win", The Daily Collegian, October 21, 1991. Retrieved January 27, 2018
  9. ^ a b Wogenrichhttp, Mark."Smith is a newcomer to Franklin's coaching staff, but not to Penn State", The Morning Call, January 25, 2014. retrieved January 28, 2018.
  10. ^ Faggen, Pete."Four Lions picked in 8th, Smith taken in 11th",The Daily Collegian, April 28, 1992. Retrieved January 28, 2018.
  11. ^ Frazier, Jim."Coach Terry Smith Leaves Gateway Nest", New Pittsburgh Courier, Retrieved January 24, 2018.
  12. ^ "Franklin Announces Penn State Coaching Staff". gopsusports.com. Penn State Nittany Lions. January 24, 2014. Archived from the original on January 12, 2020. Retrieved January 12, 2020.
  13. ^ "Robby Anderson". owlsports.com. Temple University Athletics. September 30, 2015. Archived from the original on September 30, 2015. Retrieved January 12, 2020.
  14. ^ "Football Falls to SMU, 59-49, in Record-Setting Game". owlsports.com. Temple University Athletics. October 26, 2013. Archived from the original on December 21, 2015. Retrieved January 12, 2020.
  15. ^ a b Nelson, Kristen."Meet the Penn State staff: Cornerbacks coach Terry Smith", Altoona Mirror, August 15, 2014. retrieved January 30, 2018.
  16. ^ "Several Nittany Lions Earn Additional All-Big Ten and All-America Accolades". gopsusports.com. 2015 CBS Interactive. December 19, 2014. Archived from the original on April 28, 2015. Retrieved January 13, 2020.
  17. ^ "Quartet of Nittany Lions Selected All-Big Ten; Hull Earns Butkus-Fitzgerald Linebacker of the Year Award". gopsusports.com. 2014 CBS Interactive. December 1, 2014. Archived from the original on October 25, 2017. Retrieved January 13, 2020.
  18. ^ "TaxSlayer Bowl Game Notes". gopsusports.com. 2015 CBS Interactive. December 28, 2015. Archived from the original on December 28, 2015. Retrieved January 14, 2020.
  19. ^ Mancuso, Tony (November 30, 2015). "Highlighting Penn State's 2015 All-Big Ten Defensive Selections". gopsusports.com. 2015 CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on December 9, 2015. Retrieved January 14, 2020.
  20. ^ Penn State Profile, gopsusports.com, retrieved January 30, 2018.
  21. ^ Connelly, Steve (November 29, 2016). "Franklin Earns Big Ten Media Coach Of The Year, Several Players Earn All-Big Ten Honors". onwardstate.com. 2016 Onward State. Archived from the original on July 25, 2017. Retrieved January 14, 2020.
  22. ^ "View the 2017 All-Big Ten Football Defensive Teams". btn.com. 2017 Big Ten Network. November 28, 2017. Archived from the original on April 3, 2019. Retrieved January 16, 2020.
  23. ^ Jones, Ben (January 15, 2018). "Penn State Football: Seven Numbers Behind The Success Of 2017". StateCollege.com. CityPortals. Archived from the original on January 21, 2018. Retrieved January 16, 2020.
  24. ^ Odegard, Kyle (April 28, 2018). "Cardinals Add CB Chris Campbell In Sixth Round". AZCardinals.com. Archived from the original on May 1, 2018. Retrieved January 16, 2020.
  25. ^ "Big Ten Announces Football All-Conference Teams for Defense and Special Teams and Select Individual Honors". bigten.org. 2018 Big Ten Conference. November 27, 2018. Archived from the original on November 29, 2018. Retrieved January 19, 2020.
  26. ^ Wogenrich, Mark (February 15, 2019). "State of Penn State: Secondary 'in a much better position than 5 years ago'". The Morning Call. Archived from the original on January 19, 2020. Retrieved January 19, 2020.
  27. ^ "Citrus Bowl Game Notes". gopsusports.com. 2018 Penn State Nittany Lions. December 14, 2018. Archived from the original on December 19, 2018. Retrieved January 19, 2020.
  28. ^ "Big Ten Announces Football All-Conference Teams for Defense and Special Teams and Select Individual Honors". bigten.org. 2019 Big Ten Conference. December 3, 2019. Archived from the original on December 4, 2019. Retrieved January 19, 2020.
  29. ^ Harlan, Chris."Gateway trio among WPIAL Hall of Fame class", Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, April 12, 2018, retrieved April 15, 2018.