>> Introduction <<
Coach Smythe began his coaching career in 1965. His first head coaching assignment was in 1970. He has been a head coach for 47 seasons. His overall record as a high school coach of 301-97 is a winning % of .813. His high school teams have won 16 league championships and 3 State Championships. They have participated in 5 State Championship games, winning the last three and have had 8 final four teams. His teams have twice recorded seasons of 14 wins and 0 losses.
He was the head football coach at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon for six years, 1988-1993, taking over a program that had not had a winning season in twenty years or a championship in twenty five. He was the only coach to have a winning record at the school in the past fifty years. He joins his college head coach, Joe Huston, as the only two coaches to finish their tenure at the college with a winning record. Ironically coach Huston and coach Smythe are the only two coaches in state history to win high school Championships at two different schools in Oregon’s top division.
The opportunity to coach in Europe came about in 1994, his choice to coach in Vienna was the right one. He led the Vienna Vikings to their first ever-national championship in that 1994 season. He took a two-year break in 1996 and 1997 when he began a new assignment with Mc Nary High School back in Oregon. Returning to Vienna in 1998 he lead the Vikings to the pinnacle of European football. They won five straight national championships between 1999 and 2003 and the European title in 2004 and 2005. His overall record in Vienna was 106 wins and 12 losses for a .898 winning percentage.
Combining his college head coaching record of 29-25-2 with his high school and European record gives him an overall head coaching record of 436 wins and 134 losses for an .764 winning percentage. His teams have won the first state titles at two separate high schools in Oregon. Lakeridge High School in 1987, it’s only State Title, and Mc Nary High in 1997 and won again in 2001. His college team made the national playoffs twice, the only two times in the history of the school. Before leaving his Vienna team won seven national titles and two European Championships.
After leaving Vienna after the second European title he moved on to coach in Finland with the Jyvaskyla Jaguars for two seasons. After that he worked for the Zagreb Thunder for two seasons in Croatia. This spring he is beginning his fourth season with the Saarland Hurricanes in the GFL top division. He has led the ‘Canes into the national playoffs the past two seasons.
After the 2001 season in Oregon coach Smythe retired from teaching. He remained at Mc Nary to coach in the fall while spending nearly half the year in Europe. In 2009 he returned to Lakeridge High School for five seasons and retired after the 2013 season. Coaching two teams on two continent’s might tax most people but coach Smythe seemed to thrive on the challenge.
His first football book, The Explosive Double Slot, was published in 1988. His second book, The Flex Slot, is available through this web site. He has other manuscripts available here as well, most offered for free. However, he has published a nine book series, “The Eric Lewis Sports Series”, pattered after the ‘Chip Hilton’ books by Clair Bee written in the 1950’s. The first six are also available on this web site or through Amazon or Barnes and Noble. The last three will be available this fall.
He enjoys traveling especially throughout Europe. He is a low handicap golfer and enjoys music of all kind including Classical by Mozart and Beethoven to the country sounds of Willy Nelson and Toby Keith.
He is a firm believer in the “Law of Diminishing Returns” and is careful not to Over-coach. He believes short well planned practice will result in fresh legs on game day. Most people would look at his record and heartedly agree.
Coach Smythe quote:
When asked about his philosophy he answered; “I want my players mentally, physically and emotionally ready on game day. I don’t care how much they sweat on Tuesday.”
1970; Began his head coaching career at his high school alma mater. His six and three win loss record was good for third place in the Metro League, the school’s first season in the perennial powerful Portland area league.
1971; He began a seven year run at Lakeridge H. S., Lake Oswego, Oregon’s second high school by winning the first six football games. A feat unprecedented in Oregon high school history. The final 7-2 record would set the tone for the program.
1978; Taking a year’s leave he spent the season coaching on Craig Fertig’s staff at Oregon State University.
1979; He returned to Lakeridge High School and began a nine year run that would end with a state title in 1987. In each of the last five years his team reached the final four. In sixteen years at Lakeridge his teams were a combined 157 and 32.
1988; He began a six year stint at Lewis & Clark College, his Alma Mater. He completely turned around a program that had not had a winning record in twenty years nor a championship in thirty. He guided the Pioneers to their only national championship tournament games, twice. He is only the second coach to finish his tenure at the college with a winning record.
1994; He began a spring-summer odyssey in Austria coaching the Vienna Viking Football Club taking them, in his first season, to their first ever national championship. In his nine seasons with the Vikings his team won six national titles and two European championships. His last team in 2005 won both the Austrian and the European championship
1995; He began a twelve year stint at Mc Nary High School in Keizer, Oregon. The school had won only two league championships in twenty five years. It took him two seasons for his first of six league championships and in his third year won the first of two state titles.
2009; Begins a second stint at Lakeridge High School. His five years brought a return respect for the program that had fallen on hard times.
2013; officially retired after guiding the Pacers into the state playoffs for the fourth year in a row.
Coach Smythe has won state titles in Oregon in three different decades and two centuries, 1987 at Lakeridge and 1997 and 2001 at Mc Nary. He has turned around programs at the high school, small college and international level’s. He began a program at a new high school and set a standard that continues long after his departure. He knows how to win and how to build programs.
Building a football program is way more than knowing X’s and O’s. In coach Smythe’s mind it is all about communication and time management. This web site will give you many examples of his creativity and imagination. He will give you his thoughts, his ideas and his concepts. His Philosophy is simple but sound, and he will list for you his own Characteristics of a Winner. His methods have been proven over a long period of time and can work for you as well.
QUOTS AND THINGS
A direct quote: “Surround yourself with competent and intelligent people who understand the value of Communication, Cooperation and Loyalty. Wise people who are not threatened or intimidated by your skill, but rather respect and admire ability in others. Faithful people supportive in your presence and trustworthy when you are absent. Bright people who realize that appreciating expertise in others will allow them to share fully in the resulting success.”
I firmly believe the art of listening is the single most important skill in becoming a better football player. I’ll take a lesser talented player who will listen to the coach, the QB, the defensive signal caller etc. over the more talented kid who refuses to listen, and just wants to do his own thing. In fact the very first thing I tell my players every year is:
“If you listen, you have a chance to learn”
I get so tired of hearing losers bitch about winners. They, the losers, always have an excuse for themselves and a reason why winners are somehow cheating to achieve their success.
“Winners Win. Losers Bitch”
When I feel like we need some encouragement not to overlook an upcoming opponent, I remind our team that...
“If you don’t respect your opponent, you stand a great chance of getting beat!”
Along the same line:
“If you wake a sleeping dog and he’s angry you better have a Plan B.”
Often it’s necessary to remind people that to get a day’s pay you need to put in a day’s work.
“Never forget the feeling you get when you do a hard job well.” Or…
”Nothing in life that is worth a damn is easy.”
Professional golfers are the best at focusing, and concentrating on the next shot. Forgetting the last play and playing the next one is the most important ability in establishing consistency. I’ve used this one about a thousand times in the last few years.
“Play The Next Down”
ELEVEN CHARACTERISTICS OF A WINNER.
1. Is a good LISTENER...
2. Displays good LEADERSHIP qualities.
3. Can see the BIG Picture.
4. Is able to understand proper PERSPECTIVE,
5. Turns NEGATIVES into POSITIVES...
6. Understands PREPERATION in a key to success.
7. Surrounds self with QUALITY
8. Displays CONSISTENCY of effort (3 C’s)
9. Is HUMBLE in both victory and defeat.
10. Never Places Blame..... FIX the problem!
11. Concentrates on what he does BEST
*Coach Smythe can be reached by e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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National Championship 2001, Vienna (the aftermath)