This is John Smith's second InterMat Coach of the Year honor.
By Taylor Miller
March 22, 2013 Wells Fargo Arena
Records as a Wrestler
John Smith is a name synonymous with wrestling success.
The Oklahoma State head coach won six consecutive world championships as a competitor from 1987-92, including gold medals at the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul and at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, and he owns five national championships as head coach of the Cowboys.
Smith accepted the head coaching position at Oklahoma State in 1992 and the numbers and accomplishments since that time speak for themselves. He has led his alma mater to five NCAA team titles in 1994, 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006, and he has coached 28 NCAA individual champions and five Olympians. Under his watch, the Cowboys have brought 14 team conference tournament championships, two Big 12 regular season titles and 88 individual conference titles back to Stillwater. He has seen his student-athletes earn All-America recognition 107 times, an average of 4.7 All-America honorees per year.
He was recognized as the National Wrestling Coaches Association coach of the year in 1994 and 2003 and is a 13-time selection as his conference's coach of the year (1994 and 1996 in the Big Eight and 1997, 1998, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2010, 2011 and 2013 in the Big 12).
Most recently, Smith has led his squad to back-to-back Big 12 tournament titles, with six Cowboys crowned conference champions in 2014.
Individual success continued for the Cowboys in the 2014 postseason as they took their entire starting lineup to Oklahoma City for the NCAA Championships. The squad produced a top three finish at the NCAA Championships for the second consecutive year and five All-Americans.
The Pokes added two national champions to the history books with senior Chris Perry picking up his second national title at 174 pounds and sophomore Alex Dieringer claiming the 157-pound championship with a bonus-point victory.
Smith's team finished the 2014 season as the No. 3 in the nation behind only Penn State and Minnesota in a closely-contested NCAA tournament.
The 2014 squad finished the season with an 11-5 overall record and was ranked among the top teams in the NWCA Poll throughout the year.
A native of Del City, Okla., Smith owns a 359-53-6 career dual match record as a head coach (.867 winning pct.).
Smith led OSU to four consecutive NCAA team championships from 2003 through 2006.
The 2003 squad compiled a perfect 17-0 dual meet record, won the Big 12 team title, crowned six individual Big 12 champions and featured a pair of NCAA individual champions in Johnny Thompson and Jake Rosholt.
Under Smith's watch, Oklahoma State compiled a 21-0 dual meet record in 2005 and capped the season with one of the most dominant showings in the history of the NCAA Championships when an NCAA-record five separate Cowboys were crowned as NCAA champions. Zack Esposito won at 149 with Johny Hendricks taking the 165 championship, Pendleton repeating as an NCAA champion at 174, Jake Rosholt claiming the title at 197 and Steve Mocco taking the heavyweight championship. OSU wrestlers compiled a 38-9 record at the NCAA Championships that year and the Cowboys set school records for points, margin of victory and national champions. Oklahoma State scored 153 team points to top second-place Michigan by 70 points.
Smith and the Cowboys were 16-2 in dual meets en route to claiming their fourth consecutive NCAA team title in 2006, led by Hendricks and Rosholt, who both claimed their second consecutive NCAA individual championships.
The first of Smith's five NCAA team championships was won in 1994, when the Cowboys compiled a 13-1 dual meet record, won the Big 12 team championship, crowned four individual Big 12 champions and three NCAA individual champions in Alan Fried, Mark Branch and Smith's younger brother and the first-ever four-time NCAA champion, Pat Smith.
For all of the championships and success he continues to enjoy as a coach, it is his career as a wrestler that is the stuff of legend. Smith truly was the best wrestler in the world.
To this day, Smith holds Oklahoma State school records for career victories (152), single-season victories (47 in 1988), career bonus-point wins (113), single-season bonus point wins (39 in both 1987 and 1988) and single-season bonus point win percentage (90.7 in 1987). A three-time Big Eight Conference individual champion in 1985, 1987 and 1988, Smith wrestled primarily at 134 during his collegiate career, where he strung together a 124-4 overall record. He also competed at 126, compiling a 27-4-2 overall mark, and won his lone career match at 142.
After Smith's junior year at Oklahoma State, he won the first of his six world championships in Clermont-Ferrand France. Smith remains the only collegiate wrestler to win a world championship while he was still in school. Following his graduation in 1988, Smith qualified for the U.S. Olympic freestyle team and came away from the Seoul Olympics with the first of his two Olympic gold medals and the second of his six consecutive world titles.
Three more world championships ensued in 1989, 1990 and 1991 before Smith claimed the second of his Olympic gold medals at the 1992 Barcelona games to cement his legacy as one of the greatest wrestlers of all time.
His list of awards and honors received certainly befits someone who earned the distinction of being the best wrestler on the planet. Smith was honored as the first wrestler ever to be voted as the James E. Sullivan Award winner as America's outstanding amateur athlete when he won the award in 1990. He was the first American ever to be chosen Master of Technique and Wrestler of the Year by the International Wrestling Federation (FILA) when he received the honor in 1990. In 1992, he was presented with the Amateur Athletic Foundation's World Trophy. A 2003 inductee into the FILA International Wrestling Hall of Fame, a distinguished member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and a 1997 inductee into the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame, Smith was recognized as one of the 100 Greatest Olympians of All Time at the 1996 Atlanta Games.
Smith was the 1991 selection as FILA's Outstanding Wrestler of the Year after earning Man of the Year honors from Amateur Wrestling News in 1988, Athlete of the Year recognition from USA Wrestling in 1989 and Sportsman of the Year honors from the U.S. Olympic Committee in 1990.
In 2004, Smith was presented with the Titan Award by the U.S. Olympic Committee, and the next year, he joined his brother Pat as one of 15 wrestlers named to the NCAA's 75th Anniversary Team.
The Smith family legacy is strong at Oklahoma State, as John's older brother Lee Roy was a three-time All-America in 1977, 1979 and 1980 and claimed the 1980 national championship. John was a three-time All-America in 1985, 1987 and 1988 with a pair of national titles in 1987 and 1988 and younger brother Pat was a four-time All-America with four national championships in 1990, 1991, 1992 and 1994.
Smith has also successfully established a wrestling club that allows wrestlers from across the country to prepare and train for international competition. The Gator Wrestling Club sent three former Oklahoma State wrestlers to compete in the 2004 Olympic Games. Jamill Kelly won the silver medal at the 2004 Athens Olympics, with Daniel Cormier finishing fourth and Eric Guerrero also representing the USA in Athens.
In 1995, Smith married the former Toni Donaldson. The couple has three sons - Joseph, Samuel and Levi and two daughters - Isabell and Cecilia.
John Smith Year-by-Year Coaching Capsule