Former Tennessee football player Daryle Smith, 46, died early Thursday morning at UT Medical Center.
Mr. Smith, who played offensive tackle at UT from 1984-86, was a Powell High School graduate who went on to a nine-year professional career. He played from 1987-88 with the Dallas Cowboys, 1989 with the Cleveland Browns and 1990-92 with the Philadelphia Eagles, followed by four years in the Canadian Football League.
Mr. Smith was a part of one of the legendary victories in UT football history. He played on the offensive line in the 1986 Sugar Bowl in which the Vols upset No. 2 Miami, 35-7.
Phillip Fulmer coached the offensive line during that time. At a 2005 reunion he fondly remembered that group.
“Probably, that was the best unit I coached as a position coach,” Fulmer said.
Mr. Smith was especially well known in the Powell community where served for a time on the Powell High School coaching staff.
“Only two players have their numbers retired at Powell,” then coach Clark Duncan said in a 1997 News Sentinel story, “Daryle Smith and John Bruhin. Those guys are legends around here.”
Powell football coach Matt Lowe said it was hard not to like Daryle Smith.
“I don’t remember anybody who did not like him after you sit down and talk to him for 15 or 20 minutes,” Lowe said Thursday. “He had a personality and was a great story teller.
“The players would come in and see this massive, massive man; but then he’d start talking with them and before long they were automatically following him and hanging on his every word,” said Lowe of Smith, who was listed at 6-foot-5, 277 pounds during his playing career.
Cause of death was not revealed, however, WVLT reported that Smith checked into UT Medical Center on Tuesday with pancreatic issues and gall stones. He died at approximately 5:30 a.m.
Mr. Smith was employed by Steel Light Construction of Sevierville.
Mr. Smith was the father of tight end Lee Smith, who originally signed with Tennessee, and is a starting tight end for Marshall.
Memorial service will be at 7 p.m. Saturday at Mynatt Halls Chapel with Jim Branch officiating. The family was receive friend 5-7 p.m. there on Saturday.