Norman Walter “Norm” Smith (21 November 1915 – 29 July 1973) was an Australian rules footballer player and coach in the Victorian Football League. He was frequently chosen as a full-forward and played 210 first-grade cricket matches and kicked 546 goals for Melbourne. Smith also represented Fitzroy from 1949 to 1951 and coached clubs including Fitzroy, Melbourne and South Melbourne.
Greatest Sporting Achievements
Norm Smith helped Melbourne to four premierships, in 1939 to 1941 and 1948. He captained the club for three seasons. He won two Keith ‘Bluey’ Truscott Medalist and Melbourne winning Team of the Century when he was the full-forward. As a coach, he helped his clubs to six premierships – 1955 to 1957, 1959, 1960 and 1964. His team won AFL Team of the Century and Melbourne won Team of the Century when he coached the club. Smith was inducted into the Australian Football Hall of Fame and Melbourne Hall of Fame with both having a legend status. The Norm Smith Medal was named in his honor. It was instituted in 1979 and the award is for the best player in the Grand Final.
Why Was He So Good?
Norm Smith was known as the “Demon Dictator” and the “Martinet of Melbourne” as a coach. He was a strong disciplinarian and his auburn hair earned him another nickname, the “Red Fox”. He created teams of greatness that made the other clubs envy. Norm Smith, as a player and a coach, made him a true Australian icon with a reputation that extended beyond their own code.
What You May Not Know
- Norm Smith’s public and private life was stark. He was a football tyrant who ruled teams with an iron fist but with his family, he was known to be a caring and loving husband, father and grandfather.
- He formed a strong friendship with Lions defender Jack Toohey. Sometimes they would go out for beer after training and matches.
- The first medal of the Norm Smith medal was Carlton’s Wayne Harmes. He is Len Smith’s grandson.
Peter, Norm’s son, played for Melbourne under the coaching of his father and Carlton under Barassi.
Was he a legend?
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