During a career in football that has spanned several decades, Frank Smith has made countless contributions to football in British Columbia. After playing the game at the high school level in Kitsilano for the Vancouver Meralomas, Smith entered the CFL with the BC Lions followed by stints with the Edmonton Eskimos, Calgary Stampeders and Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Along with his good friend Cal Murphy, Smith created East Vancouver’s first high school football program at Notre Dame Secondary before becoming head coach of the Junior Big 4 Burnaby Spartans.
From 1959-1970, Smith coached at Eastern Washington University, Tonasheet High School, Centralia High School, Wenatchee Junior College and Montana State University. In 1971, Smith returned to Vancouver to start a high school program at West Vancouver’s Sentinel Secondary where he would spend the next three years. Upon the conclusion of the 1973 season, Smith accepted a position as head coach at the University of British Columbia. Over 21 seasons with the Thunderbirds, he amassed a respectable 126-90-4 record, including five Western Conference titles and four National CIAU Championship appearances, claiming two titles (1982, 1986) along the way. Smith would enter the CFL coaching ranks in 1997 with the BC Lions, where he would also spend the 1998 and 2000 seasons. For his many invaluable contributions to both amateur and professional football in British Columbia, Coach Smith has been named a two-time recipient of the Frank Tindell Trophy as CIAU Coach of the Year (1978, 1987) and has been invited in a guest coaching capacity to many CFL training camps.