Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Bob Smith

Robert Austin Smith

December 28, 1923
Newark, NJ

August 20, 2014
Petaluma, CA

1942-43 Long Island University (College)
1943-44 Muhlenberg College - Pennsylvania (College)
1945-46 Camp Lejeune (Military)
1946-47 Long Island University (College)
1947-48 Long Island University (College)
1948-49 Paterson Crescents (ABL)
1949-50 Cohoes Marras (ABL)

The 6'5, 200-pound Smith attended LIU but entered the Marines after in 1943, training at Muhlenberg College. He served in World War 2, and after the war, made his way back to LIU, where he was the basketball team captain. He was there during the point-shaving scandal, and when two of the crooked players, Eddie Gard and Nate Miller, approached Coach Bee asking Smith be benched, Bee knew something odd was up. Smith was a hard-nosed leader and definitely not one gamblers would approach to fix games, and Gard and Miller knew their point-shaving task would be made easier without the skilled Smith on the court. Bee met with Smith and they began to piece together what was happening. Smith graduated that year and played a season with the Paterson Crescents. Bee would resign in 1951 amidst the point-shaving scandal which grew outside of LIU to CCNY and beyond. (I want to make clear that Bee was not involved in the fixing of games, but resigned from LIU because it happened under his watch. He was a very respected coach who to coach the Baltimore Bullets in the NBA and  was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1968.)

Smith became an officer in the USMC and continued to serve for 27 until his retirement in 1969, achieving the rank of lieutenant colonel. He served not just in WW2, but in the Korean War as well as the war in Vietnam.

Hoop Crazy: The Lives of Clair Bee and Chip Hilton, by Dennis Gildea, pg 215-216
Obituary, Press-Democrat, August 28-31, 2014


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