Friends, family and former players celebrate the life of Bronco football legend, Lyle Smith

BOISE - Hundreds of friends, fans, and former players of former Bronco head football coach Lyle Smith, gathered at the Stueckle Sky Center Thursday to celebrate his life.

Smith died July 26 at 101 years old.

"He was an amazing man," former Bronco football player David Hughes said. "He was a humble man, didn't want to be in the limelight as if to say, 'Just let me do my job, I don't want any of this attention, it's not about me.'"

70 years worth of fans know the legacy Lyle Smith leaves behind. Smith coached the Broncos for 21 years back when Boise State University was known as Boise Junior College. He was the Head Football Coach for BJC until the end of the 1967 football season.

Smith held an impressive record in his tenure with Bronco athletics. In his 21 years, the team took 158 wins, 25 losses and six ties.

Current Boise State head football coach Bryan Harsin spoke at Thursday's ceremony, admiring Smith's gravitation toward athletics even into his old age. Harsin recalled a recent conversation with Smith, encouraging him to stop by the new Bronco football gym instead of working out at the student Rec Center.

"And I'm like, 'What exactly are you working on when you work out?" Harsin explained, "and he's like, 'Well, I kind of want to keep it tight up here,'" Smith told him, directing toward his chest.

Smith's three children and two step-children spoke at Thursday's ceremony, sharing favorite past times and childhood memories.

Smith's niece, on behalf of her mother and Smith's sister, shared a well-kept family secret as payback for childhood pranks, spilling Smith's middle name.

"Now I'm yelling, 'Lyle Hilton Smith!' Pam Gould said, "Rest in peace, dear brother."

Coach Smith was a father, son, brother and military member, but according to his oldest son, his most prideful title was the one he held with clipboard in hand, decked out in blue and orange.

"The greatest honor for him was when a kid called him Coach," Bill Smith said. "So, Coach, rest in peace. I love you."

 

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