Mike Smith - Outstanding Alumnus

Mike Smith

Class of 1982

In five seasons as the Falcons head coach, Mike Smith has established Atlanta as a sustainable and relevant franchise in the NFL. During his tenure in Atlanta, the Falcons have compiled a 56-24 regular season record which is the second-best mark in the NFL during that time and have captured two NFC South Division titles. The Falcons have also tallied five consecutive winning seasons (2008-12), making them the only team in the NFC to produce a winning record in each of the last five seasons (11-5, 9-7, 13-3, 10-6, 13-3). Smith's accomplishments in his first five seasons as Atlanta Falcons head coach are unprecedented in team history and are among the best in the NFL when measured against his coaching counterparts.

Smith became the first coach in franchise history to produce back-to-back winning seasons (2008-09) and, in 2011, Smith became the first coach in Falcon history to lead his team to consecutive playoff appearances (2010-11). During the 2012 NFL season, Smith led the Falcons to an NFC-best 13-3 mark, securing the team's third straight playoff berth and the Falcons eventually hosted the NFC Championship game at the Georgia Dome for the first time in the franchise's 46-year history. Additionally, the Falcons became the first NFC team to earn the conference's top seed twice in three seasons since the Philadelphia Eagles posted the NFC's best record in three straight seasons from 2002-04. For his efforts, Smith was named the Sporting News Coach of the Year for the third time in five seasons (2008, 2010 & 2012).

Smith's remarkable 56-24 regular season record since 2008 is the second-best mark among all NFL coaches. His 56 wins are the most in the NFC and are the most by any Falcons head coach in his first five seasons. Additionally, Smith's 56 wins in his first five seasons as a head coach are the second most among any first-time head coach in NFL history.

One of Smith's basic coaching philosophies centers on his team displaying sustainability. He wants his Falcons to be able to maintain a certain level of performance, not just each season, but from game to game, quarter to quarter, and play to play. In his first five seasons in Atlanta, Smith has built a team that will consistently be in the conversation year-in and year-out come December and January.

Smith has instilled in his team the value of starting fast and finishing strong, and the Falcons have heeded his coaching mantra by amassing a 34-9 record in games where they score first.

Under the guidance of Smith, the Falcons posted a 10-6 record and earned their second consecutive playoff berth in 2011. The playoff berth marked the third time in four seasons Atlanta has reached the playoffs under Smith. In 2010, Smith guided the Falcons to the second-most wins in a season in team history, the top record in the NFC with a 13-3 mark and an NFC South Division crown in 2010. For all the milestones he achieved in 2010, Smith earned the prestigious Sporting News NFL Coach of the Year and the KC 101 Club's NFC Coach of the Year award for a remarkable second time in three seasons.

In 2009, Smith's club captured its final three games of the season, including two victories on the road, to secure a winning record and the first back-to-back winning seasons in team history.

Under Smith's determined leadership in 2008, the Falcons enjoyed one of the biggest turnarounds that the NFL has ever witnessed. The seven-win swing going from 4-12 to 11-5 is tied for the fourth-best mark (at +7 wins) in the League for a rookie head coach since 1978. Smith's 11 victories are tied for the top mark with five other head coaches for the best record for a rookie head coach taking over a team that finished below .500 the previous season. And only three rookie head coaches in NFL history had more wins in their first campaign on the sidelines than Smith.

Smith's firm guidance in 2008 allowed the Falcons to make several improvements from the previous season, which included points per game average, rushing yards per game average, passing touchdowns to interception ratio and fewest sacks allowed. For his coaching efforts in 2008, Smith earned the honorable Associated Press and Sporting News 2008 NFL Coach of the Year honors, as well as NFC Coach of the Year by the respected KC 101 Club.

Smith boasts a strong coaching background that includes 12 NFL seasons and 29 total years in football. His defensive track record has witnessed a remarkable amount of success as he helped guide the Baltimore Ravens to a Super Bowl XXXV Championship in 2000 as a defensive assistant coach and led the Jacksonville Jaguars defense to top 10 rankings in several categories (overall defense, points allowed and rushing defense) during his time as the club's Defensive Coordinator.

Smith played college football at East Tennessee State University (1977-1981) and was named defensive MVP twice at his position. He led the team with a school record 186 tackles as a senior. A native of Daytona Beach, Florida, Smith was born on June 13, 1959, in Chicago, Illinois. He and his wife, Julie, have one daughter, Logan, and reside in Suwanee, Ga.