Bruce Smith (halfback)

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Bruce Smith
refer to caption
Smith in 1943
No. 42, 65
Personal information
Born:(1920-02-08)February 8, 1920
Faribault, Minnesota, U.S.
Died:August 28, 1967(1967-08-28) (aged 47)
Alexandria, Minnesota, U.S.
Height:6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Weight:197 lb (89 kg)
Career information
High school:Faribault
College:Minnesota (1939–1941)
NFL draft:1942 / Round: 13 / Pick: 119
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Rushing yards:560
Rushing average:5.2
Rushing touchdowns:1
Receiving yards:79
Receiving touchdowns:1
Player stats at · PFR

Bruce Phillip Smith (February 8, 1920 – August 28, 1967), nicknamed "Boo", was an American football halfback. He played college football for the Minnesota Golden Gophers, where he won the Heisman Trophy in 1941.

Smith was born in Faribault, Minnesota, where he excelled in high school football under the coach Win Brockmeyer at Faribault High School. The football field at Faribault High is now named after Smith. He attended the University of Minnesota, playing for the back-to-back national champion Gophers in 1940 and 1941. Smith was captain of the 1941 Minnesota team. Smith earned first-team All-American and All-Big Ten Conference honors in 1941.

During World War II, he served as a United States Navy fighter pilot. After the war, he briefly played in the National Football League (NFL) with the Green Bay Packers (1945–1948) and the Los Angeles Rams (1948).

The movie Smith of Minnesota[1] was released in 1942. The premiere occurred in his home town of Faribault, Minnesota, to the amazement of the locals due to this novelty. However, laughter was heard in the movie house when certain advanced technologies, for that time (direct-dial phones, streetlights, etc.) were seen as part of the scenery—courtesy of being filmed in Hollywood, Los Angeles.

Smith was diagnosed with cancer in the spring of 1967, and he spent the next several months visiting young cancer patients with the Rev. William Cantwell. Smith lost over half his body weight before succumbing to the disease. Cantwell, who was unfamiliar with Smith's sports achievements, nominated Smith for sainthood.[citation needed]

In 1972,[2] Smith was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. His number 54 was the first to be officially retired by the Minnesota Gophers in 1977.[3]


  1. ^ Smith of Minnesota
  2. ^ College Football Hall of Fame: Bruce "Boo" Smith biography
  3. ^ Bruce Smith biography

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