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John Smith

Enshrined 2008

A high school teacher by profession, John T. Smith was a nationally-recognized collegiate official. But Smith made other contributions to the Syracuse sports community. At Fowler High School, he led the track team to its first Central New York title in 1980. He was also an assistant coach for the semi-pro GP Express in 1985 and 1987 when they won national championships.


In 1981, Smith began his football officiating career at the high school level. He moved on to Division III college and in 1989 joined the Division I refereeing fraternity. In 1992, Smith became a Big East crew chief and maintained that high level of achievement until he retired from his on-field duties in 2006. Smith continues to stay involved in the game as one of the Big East's replay officials.


During his illustrious officiating career, Smith worked seven bowl games. When football season was over, he turned in his cleats for sneakers as he continued to officiate on the high school basketball courts from 1977-1997.


Smith has been on the football field for many memorable college games, including the 1993 Notre Dame vs. Boston College battle that was decided on a last second field goal, giving the Eagles the win. He worked 34 years with the Syracuse School District, 22 years as a Physical Education teacher and nine as a school administrator.




1977–1997: International Association of Approved Basketball Officials Local Board #38, worked numerous high school league championships and sectional championships


1980: Fowler High School Track & Field Coach, led the team to the first CNY track championship in school history


1981–1984: Central New York Football Officials Association; Officiated numerous league championship and sectional games


1984–2006: Eastern College Athletic Conference Football Association


1985: Assistant Coach, GP Syracuse Express Semi Pro Football; won the 1985 Semi-Pro National Championship


1986-1987: Assistant Coach – GP Syracuse Express – Semi Pro Football, Team won the 8th Annual Super Bowl of Semi-Pro Football, Dec. 19, 1987 in Las Vegas


1988: Officiated his first Division III Play-off game


1989: Promoted into the Division I ranks of ECAC football


1992–2006: Big East Football Crew Chief (First African-American Crew Chief in the Big East)


Football bowl games officiated (7): 1994 Independence Bowl, 1996 Insight Dot Com Bowl, 1999 Citrus Bowl, 2001 Tostito Bowl, 2001 Independence Bowl, 2003 New Orleans Bowl, 2005 New Orleans Bowl

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