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  • Writer's pictureCanada West

Frank Smith (FB | Coach)

NAME: Frank Smith (Class of 2020-21)

UNIVERSITY: British Columbia


SPORT: Football



  • Five-time Hardy Cup Champion (1976, '78, '82, '86, '87)

  • Two-time Vanier Cup Champion (1982, '86)

  • 2019 Canadian Football Hall of Fame inductee

  • 126 career wins at UBC


Frank Smith left a lasting mark on the UBC Thunderbirds football program thanks to two decades of excellence.

The legendary head coach took over the Thunderbirds in 1974 and would go on to lead UBC to five Hardy Cup championships (1976, '78, '82, '86, '87) and two Vanier Cup titles (1982, '86) over 21 illustrious seasons.

When he took over the T-Birds the program was in search of its first Hardy Cup in more than a decade. After a pair of rebuilding seasons, Smith returned UBC to their past glory, winning the Western Intercollegiate Football League in 1974.

From there, Smith and the T-Birds continued to soar, reaching Smith's first Vanier Cup in 1978 (16-3 loss to Queen's), before returning to the big game in 1982. UBC's second trip to the national title game under Smith was a success, as the Thunderbirds captured their first national title with a 39-14 win over the Western Mustangs.

Smith and the Thunderbirds would go on to play in two more Vanier Cups, winning 25-23 in 1986 with another victory over Western, before falling just short of back-to-back titles with a 47-11 loss to McGill in 1987.

Upon his retirement from UBC in 1994, Smith had 126 career victories, was a two-time national coach of the year (1978, 1987), and helped 47 of his players make it to the Canadian Football League. Among those to make the jump to the CFL were fellow Canada West Hall of Famers Glenn Steele and Mark Norman.

Along with those successes, Smith also helped UBC to eight wins against rival Simon Fraser, as the Thunderbirds went 8-4 in the Shrum Bowl during Smith's tenure.

Following his time guiding the Thunderbirds, Smith spent six seasons as an assistant in the CFL, splitting time between the Saskatchewan Roughriders and B.C. Lions.

In 2019, Smith's remarkable career was honoured via his induction into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame.

"It's a very special honour, it's nation-wide and I'm absolutely speechless," Smith said of his induction. "Anytime you receive a recognition like this, it's because of what a lot of other people helped you do."

"I'm proud of the achievements of the young men that played for me and certainly what they've done in their personal life, both family wise and professionally, you know that reflects on them as well as the program itself so I'm very proud of them."

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