Lyle H. Smith collection
Lyle H. Smith, the son of Burrel F. Smith and Addie (Humphrey) Smith, was
born March 17, 1916, in the rural town of Steptoe, Washington. He attended
Moscow High School in Moscow, Idaho, where he was actively involved in sports,
playing varsity football and basketball for two consecutive years. Smith
distinguished himself in both sports and for his efforts he was awarded a high
school letter for each. In 1933 and 1934, Smith helped the Moscow High School
basketball squad win the coveted title of “State Champions.” Also, in 1933 he was chosen amongst his colleagues to
represent Moscow High School on the “All State Team.”
On May 23, 1934, Smith graduated from Moscow High School. In the Fall of
that year, he entered the University of Idaho Southern Branch in Pocatello, as a
physical education major and graduated from the University of Idaho in Moscow on
June 5, 1939 with a Bachelor of Science in Education with a minor in history.
Also, he was the center for the University of Idaho football team and guard for
the basketball team. Upon graduating from college, Smith began what would be a
lifelong career of teaching and coaching. From September of 1939 to May of 1940,
he taught social sciences and physical education for grades 9-12 at Firth High
School in eastern Idaho. Then from
April of 1941 to May of 1942, Smith taught physical education at Moscow High
School, where he also coached athletics and served as the “M” club advisor.
With the United States entrance into World War II, Lyle Smith, like many of his generation, entered the military to participate in the war effort. In June of 1942, Smith was notified of his acceptance into the Naval Reserve. On June 15, 1942, Smith reported to the Superintendent of the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, to start school in the Navy’s V-5 Physical Fitness Instructors Course. On August 29, 1942, after completing the V-5 course, Smith was assigned to the Navy’s Pre-Flight School at St. Mary’s College in California as a Physical Training Officer. In September of 1943, Smith was transferred from St. Mary’s College to the U.S. Naval Air Station in Livermore, California. At Livermore he instructed Aviation Cadets in physical education and standard military training. In 1944, the United States began to intensify the war effort in the Pacific theater and with this Lyle Smith was reassigned to Pearl Harbor in September of that year. While in Pearl Harbor he worked at the Naval Supply Depot where he supervised the handling of cargo that was being prepared for the supply lines in the Pacific. He served at Pearl Harbor until November 1, 1945, at which time he was released from active duty and transferred back to the continental United States to process out of the Navy in Los Angeles, California.
With the Japanese surrender in 1945, the Second World War ended and many of America’s soldiers that returned home took advantage of the educational benefits being offered to them by the United States government. For Lyle Smith this meant an opportunity to return to the University of Idaho to attend Graduate School. In 1946, Smith received a Master of Science in Education from the University of Idaho. To fulfill the requirements for his Masters Degree, Smith wrote a professional paper titled “A Recreational Program for the Youth of a City under 10,000 Population.”
In 1946, Smith came to Boise Junior College (BJC) to fill the position of
assistant to head football coach Harry Jacoby. A year later, Jacoby resigned and
Smith became the head football coach for BJC, a position he held until the end
of 1967 football season. Smith left an impressive record in his 21 years of
coaching at Boise Junior/State College with a record of 158 wins, 25 losses, and
6 ties. Under his leadership, the Broncos were invited to seven post-season
Junior College Bowl Games such as the Potato Bowl and Little Rose Bowl. In 1949,
Smith took BJC to Bakersfield, California to play in the Kern County Shrine
Potato Bowl where in front of 12,000 fans BJC upset Taft Junior College with a
final score of 25 to 7. In the middle of the 1950 football season Lyle Smith,
like many other veterans of World War II, was called back into military service
for the Korean War but resumed coaching duties in August of 1952 upon returning
home. In 1958, at Bronco Stadium, BJC defeated Tyler College of Texas, thus
winning the National Junior College Athletic Association Championship, a victory
that gave them the honor of being the number one Junior College football team in
the country that year. In addition to coaching football, Lyle Smith also served
as a baseball coach for Boise Junior/State College club team.
In his 21 years as head football coach, Smith’s teams remained a dominant figure in the Intermountain Collegiate Athletic Conference, winning the conference title 16 out of 21 times. In January of 1968, Smith officially resigned as head football coach and was rehired in March to serve as Boise State College’s Director of Athletics, a position he held until retirement in 1981. During his tenure as Athletic Director, Bronco Stadium was built and construction on the Pavilion was started. On September 11, 1970, BJC’s football field was dedicated as the “Lyle Smith Field”.
--by David R. Matte, 1993
Scope and Contents
The papers of Lyle H. Smith consist of Naval correspondence, college term papers, newspaper clippings, memorabilia, military certificates, photographs, and correspondence relating to his coaching and teaching career. Additionally, there are numerous documents relating to Smith’s high school and college sports activities. The collection’s contents date from 1926 to 1981.
The collection is small, consisting of five series: Navy Papers, Schooling, Teaching/Coaching, Miscellaneous, and Memorabilia and Publications. The Navy series contains personnel rosters, correspondence relating to the commissioning process, regulations, and graduation certificates. The Schooling series consists of newspaper clippings relating to his participation in high school and college sports, term papers, yearbooks, and transcripts. The Teaching/Coaching series contains newspaper clippings from various sporting events for Boise Junior College and Boise State College, and letters and correspondence pertaining to various aspects of Smith’s coaching duties. The Miscellaneous series contains items such as letters, affidavits, and photos. The Memorabilia and Publications series contains sports books and journals, Navy training manuals, coaching directories, and memorabilia such as Boy Scout merit badges, smoking pipes, and high school and college sports letters.
The collection was donated by Lyle Smith after he retired as Boise State University’s Athletic Director in 1981. Approximately 400 sports photos (ca 1946-1981) taken by press and university photographers, which were originally part of the collection, have been integrated into the University Archives photo collection.
Collection number: MSS 085
Container Lists and Series Descriptions
Summary of Series
Series I: Navy Papers
Information and Assistance: 208-426-1204