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Carnie Smith

  • Pitt State’s football stadium is named after him
  • He coached the Gorilla’s to National Championships in 1957 and 1961
  • He finished his coaching career 116-52-2
Smith, Carnie
Inducted 2002

Born: January 29, 1911 - Weir, Kansas

Died: January 25, 1979 - Pittsburg, Kansas

Graduated: Arma High School – 1929; University of Kansas – 1933

Early Career

After graduating from Arma (KS) High School in 1929, Carnie Smith attended the University of Kansas and lettered in football and baseball.  He coached high school football in Kansas at Cockerill, West Mineral, Arma and Paola. He served 2 ½ years in the U.S. Navy. Smith was the head coach at Parsons Junior College in 1946 and was an assistant at the University of California in 1947. He was the head coach for Santa Rosa (Calif.) Junior College in 1948 before coming to Pittsburg.

Time at Pittsburg State University

Widely regarded as the man who built Pittsburg State University into a national powerhouse football program, Carnie Smith was one of the most successful college football coaches in the nation and a beloved man on campus at Pitt State, where he directed the Gorillas to national championships in 1957 and 1961.  Smith was named the national coach of the year and had a 17-year record of 116-52-2 from 1949-66 at Pitt State. After his coaching tenure at PSU, he served as the athletic director at the school from 1966-76.


Carnie Smith was inducted into the NAIA Hall of Fame in 1963 and Pittsburg State’s 9,500-seat football stadium is named after him.