Legendary Albany State coach Hampton Smith passes away

Hampton Smith, the most successful coach in the history of Albany State football has passed away at the age of 89 according to a statement released by the University.

“On behalf of President Marion Ross Fedrick, Albany State University is deeply saddened to share the passing of former ASU football and baseball Coach Hampton Smith. We extend our sincerest condolences to his family and friends.”

For over 20 years during his time at the university, Coach Smith made a significant impact on the ASU community both on and off the field. A legendary coach, he won 9 SIAC championships and holds the most wins for a coach in the history of ASU. We will miss his great wit, candor, passion for helping others, and his desire to see the continued success of ASU athletics, and the institution as a whole.

Coach Hampton’s light and legacy will forever shine through the lives of his family, community, students, and friends. Please keep his family and all those who loved and treasured him in your thoughts.

Smith was born on October 1, 1934. He played collegiate football from 1953-56 at Mississippi Vocational College, now known as Mississippi Valley State University and earned his his master’s from Tennessee State. He began his coaching career in 1959as an assistant on John A. Bell’s staff at his alma mater. Following that season, Smith would then spend the next eight years coaching in the high school ranks, with stays at McComb High (MS) from 1960-61 and J.E. Johnson from (1962-1968). Coach Smith spent two seasons on “Big” John A. Merritt’s staff at Tennessee State from 1969-1970.

Coach Smith spent six seasons at Albany State College, now Albany State University, in his first run as head coach, compiling an overall record of 27-28-3 and an SIAC tally of 12-13-1. Smith returned to Mississippi Valley State in 1979 as a quarterbacks coach before making a return to ASC to serve on Willie Williamson’s staff in 1980. When Williamson was fired three games into the 1981 season, Smith remained on the staff of interim coach John Wright for the last 7 games of that season and would be named head coach after the season. Coach Smith’s and for the next 17 seasons he would helm the Golden Rams football program. In that time he would compile a record of 130-62-1, winning 9 SIAC titles and made 5 consecutive NCAA Division II Playoff appearances from 1993-1997, advancing to the Quarterfinals in 1997.

Smith retired in 1999 as the winningest coach in Albany State history with a 157-90-4 record.

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