Written by Shelly Poe
Art Smith compiled a 74-20-1 record as WVU's track coach from 1924-57 (minus the World War II years of 1941-46). During his tenure, he coached five Olympians and aided the U.S. track teams in the 1912 Olympics in Sweden and the 1920 Games in Paris.
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He was selected to the Track & Field Hall of Fame in 1961 by the Helms Hall Board of Los Angeles and was honored at the 55th NCAA Convention in 1961 for "the debt of gratitude owed to those who in life gave distinguished service to the cause of intercollegiate athletics."
Born in Buffalo on Oct. 21, 1891, Smith was known as one of the most prominent track coaches in the nation during his career.
Prior to coming to WVU, Smith coached at Maine, Michigan State and Iowa State. He attended Buffalo High School, where he won the New York State interscholastic championships in the 100, 220 and 440 yards. He attended Buffalo University and also spent two years at Penn specializing in medicine.
While serving as track coach, Smith was strength coach for the Mountaineer football team. He also served in the U.S. Aviation Corps during WWII.
On Nov. 5, 1960, Smith died of a heart attack at age 69 reportedly after leaving a soggy and rainy Mountaineer Field at halftime of the West Virginia and Boston U. game. He appraised that game, which later became known as his trademark, as "not much better than the weather." That game incidentally ended in a 7-7 tie.