Thirty years after helping to relaunch football at MIT, Dwight Smith has decided to retire from coaching. The 1999 New England Football Conference Coach of the Year, Smith has been on the sidelines for every game in the modern history of Engineer football.
Taking over the reins as head coach of the Tech club program in 1979 after a one-year stint as an assistant, Smith led the Engineers into its first varsity game on Sept. 24, 1988. During Tech's 30-year run on the gridiron, Smith's unit compiled a 102-159-1 mark.
Persevering as the longtime commander of MIT football, Smith has picked up numerous awards and postseason accolades throughout his tenure. In 1983, Smith was named the New England College Football Conference Coach of the Year after guiding the Engineers to a 5-4 record. He was honored by the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference for his contributions to the league at the conclusion of the 1996 season, and was the ECFC Coach of the Year in 1997. In 1999, Smith was named co-Coach of the Year in the New England Football Conference. In 2007, Smith received the Ron Burton Distinguished American Award for Lifetime Achievement sponsored by the Jack Grinold Eastern Massachusetts Chapter of the National Football Foundation.
"So often in college sports, coaches use their current job as a stepping stone to the next job," noted Julie Soriero, director of athletics and head of DAPER. "In Dwight's case, the long history of his career here at MIT speaks to his commitment to his team and this institution; it is admirable.Â To wrap up this season with a number of unprecedented achievements and career records is a fitting way to conclude his historic career."
Smith, who will remain at MIT as a full-time professor in physical education, enjoyed a tremendous season in 2008 as the Engineers shattered a bevy of team records. MIT set single-season records for points, total offense, rushing yards, touchdowns and first downs while junior DeRon Brown closed out the season as the NCAA Division III leading rusher.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on November 19, 2008 (download PDF).