Born: December 20, 1951 (Atchison, KS)
Graduated: Atchison H.S., 1970 / Pittsburg State University, 1975
Creating a legacy is not something that comes easily or without hard work. For 37 years winning is all St. Mary’s Colgan High School’s football team knew because of the dedication of former head coach Chuck Smith. A winning legacy is not the only thing that Smith created though; his family legacy is equally as impressive.
Smith began working at Colgan after a one-year stint at Topeka Hayden, following his graduation from Pittsburg State University. While at Pitt State, Smith was a standout dual-sport athlete in baseball and football.
In his time at Colgan, Smith compiled a 343-75 record at the helm of the St. Mary’s Colgan football program, leading the Panthers to five state titles and six runner-up finishes.
Colgan’s impressive 66-game win streak from 2000-2004 that still stands as the program’s all-time best and set the state record at the time that propelled Smith into the ranks of the best high school football coaches in the state, and in the nation, at the end of his career in 2016.
The 66-game winning streak didn’t come without its fair share of challenges, however. On several occasions, even once in a state championship game, Colgan was trailing until scoring late in the game to get the victory.
How did Smith and Colgan keep the streak alive? Hard work and practice.
“We had to be very businesslike,” Smith told Sports Radio KFH. “You play the way you practice so by practicing hard, we played hard. What a good ride that was.”
Prior to his final season of coaching, Smith was ranked 45th in the nation among active coaches with the most wins in the country by MaxPreps. Smith is the newest high school football coach to be inducted into the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame, joining the likes of some of the state’s all-time greats: Bill Freeman, Walt Shulblom, and Roger Barta, to name a few.
As if Smith’s coaching and playing accomplishments were not impressive enough, the Atchison native has also served as a state representative in the Kansas Legislature and an athletic director all while continuing to be a loving husband and father of seven.
Smith had four sons suit up in Panthers’ uniforms while he was the head coach and each of the four followed the footsteps of their father by playing football at Pittsburg State.
Chuck Smith’s legacy was created through hard work and dedication, that produced results on the field, and today, that legacy is cemented as an inductee of the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame.