By Pierce Spead, Contributing Writer
Earlier this month, the Bison football team learned they would lose a key part of their team: a motivator and energizer, the defensive line coach Herman Smith.
Coach Smith spoke to the team and offered them encouragement for the spring season, and explained why he accepted the defensive line coaching position at Colorado State Pueblo.
In addition to other facets, the move to CSPU brings him closer to his family. His daughter plays volleyball at the University of Colorado, which is only two hours away from Pueblo.
“I prayed about it, cried about it and I felt like it was the right decision for me and my family,” Smith said.
Even though he is enthusiastic about the future, many students have expressed disappointment with the move.
“He was one of the good ones,” defensive lineman Dennis Nyugen said.
“He was by far my favorite coach in my football career.”
Smith arrived on campus last year and brought with him the experience of playing in the NFL, CFL and the WLAF.
Smith originally came from a junior college program in California where he coached two players who broke the sack record and one who held the number one defensive end in the nation.
Smith’s presence is attributed to his giving personality and also his physical characteristics.
Smith stands 6’6 and weighs in at 270 pounds, making him a force to be reckoned with.
Many athletes and coaches agreed that his heart is just as big as it seems.
“Herm will be missed and I am excited for his opportunity, but I’m going to do everything in my power to bring him back to Bison Hill,” head coach Chris Jensen said.
The ‘Hermanator’ was an attribute for the team, and his impact stretched far beyond the playing field, he said.
After California, Smith attended college at Portland State, but soon left with his sights on the NFL.
He then returned to college so that he could finish his degree; he recognized the importance of finishing what he started.
“I hated school [at first],” he said. However, he said grew to appreciate both the chance to earn a degree and share fellowship with other players, Smith said.
Smith’s academic knowledge increased, just as his “football IQ” did.
He made a point to share that knowledge with people here on campus.
“I have learned things from Coach Smith that will better me as a coach and as a person,” defensive coordinator Paul Smith said.
Other players and coaches echoed the sentiment that Smith had a huge impact.
“Coach Smith is a very humble guy as he played at the professional level and with all his achievements,” offensive coordinator Brennan Marion said.
“Coach Smith carried himself with confidence and was always genuine and real.”
Gerald Howse, running back coach at Northeastern Oklahoma College who also worked with Smith in the past, said he owes the man quite a bit professionally.
“Coach Herm taught me the value being prepared, organized and the importance of being a professional,” Howse said.
‘Coach Herm’s’ intensity, joy, passion, authenticity and love for football is what makes him the man and coach that he is today, he said.