(Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty
Coach Smith was named Associated Press NFL Coach of the Year in his first year as Falcons head coach.
The award is even more impressive considering that last season was Smith's first year as a Head Coach at any level.
Before coaching the Falcons, Smith was the Defensive Coordinator for the Jacksonville Jaguars from 2003 to 2007. Smith's Jacksonville unit regularly finished the season ranked in the top ten in the NFL.
He got the job in Jacksonville after shining as a position coach for the Baltimore Ravens. Smith helped the Ravens to a Super Bowl victory in 2000.
The son of two former educators will turn 50 in less than a month (June 13). Smith's relatively young age helps him connect with his players.
His background helps too.
He has a real ability to actually teach his players his scheme and not just draw plays on a white board. He counts his parents' teaching experience as a big part of the reason for his success.
Coach Smith is not only a good teacher, he has a remarkable work ethic. His former boss, Jaguars' Head Coach Jack Del Rio, says "Nobody works harder".
Smith used that work ethic to move from a string of small college football programs to the bright lights of the NFL. If he keeps up the good work, the Falcons should be in great hands for several years to come.