This Day in College Football History – January 14th

Vernon “Catfish” Smith (January 14, 1908 – September 29, 1988) was a football, basketball, and baseball player, coach, and military officer in the United States. A three-sport athlete at the University of Georgia, Smith was named to the 1931 College Football All-America Team as an end. After his playing days, he served as the co-head basketball coach at his alma mater during the 1937–38 season. Smith was also the head baseball coach at Georgia from 1934 to 1937 and at the University of South Carolina from 1938 to 1939 and again from 1946 to 1947. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a player in 1979.

Smith was born Macon, Georgia. His nickname of “Catfish” is attributed to a story in which he bit the head off of one as a 25-cent bet while a student at Lanier High School in Macon. He and a friend were fishing in Walnut Creek.  Smith played football at the University of Georgia from 1929 to 1931 and was named an All-American in 1931. In 1929, he scored all 15 points for Georgia in an upset of Yale—scoring one touchdown by falling on a blocked punt in the end zone and another by receiving a pass, kicking an extra point and tackling a Yale player for a safety. The game was the first-ever played at Sanford Stadium.

 

 

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