Long-time Notre Dame hockey coach Charles "Lefty" Smith passed away last night at the age of 82. Smith, the longest tenured employee in the University of Notre Dame's Athletic Department -- officially retired on December 31st -- just three days earlier.
Lefty was Notre Dame's first varsity hockey coach when he took the job in 1968. Smith coached the Irish for 19 seasons (1968-87), amassing a 307-320-30 record, including runner-up finishes in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) in 1973 and 1977. He was named the WCHA Coach of the Year in 1973 and turned out numerous All-Americans, including two-time honoree Jack Brownschidle (1976-77), 1976-77 WCHA Most Valuable Player Brian Walsh, 1980 All-American (and 2005 NCAA Silver Anniversary recipient) Greg Meredith, and 1982 Hobey Baker Award finalist (and eventual NHL standout) Dave Poulin. What's more, all 126 players who completed their collegiate eligibility under Smith's tutelage earned their college degrees.
Smith served as the president of the American Hockey Coaches Association (AHCA) for two years and also was the head coach of the at-large team in the first-ever National Sports Festival in 1978. Eight members of that team would go on to be part of the gold-medal winning 1980 United States Olympic hockey team.
43 years at the University of Notre Dame -- Lefty Smith left a wonderful legacy. In fact, the university's new ice rink in the Compton Family Ice Arena is scheduled to be dedicated as the "Lefty Smith Ice Rink" on February 4th.
Here's a link to UND.COM's tribute to Lefty Smith:
After last night's inaugural Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl -- one of the top cornerbacks in the country, Tee Shepard, finally set the record straight on where he'll be attending college on January 18:
THE UNIVERSITY OF NOTRE DAME!
Six future Notre Dame stars and maybe one or two more, played in this all-star game in Phoenix last night. The photo above (Shepard #2 and Westerkamp #81) could happen on a practice field next August if Westerkamp decommits from Nebraska and chooses to play for Notre Dame -- which a few suspect could happen.
Here's a link to a South Bend Tribune story about Shepard and a few of his future Irish teammates: