Hall of Fame - Inductee Detail

Vernon "Catfish" Smith

Vernon "Catfish" Smith


  • Position: End
  • School: Georgia
  • High School: Macon, GA (Lanier HS)
  • Years: 1929-1931
  • Inducted: 1979
  • Place of Birth: Macon, GA
  • Date of Birth: Jan 14, 1908
  • Place of Death: San Diego, CA
  • Date of Death: Sep 29, 1988
  • Jersey Number: 33
  • Height: 6-2
  • Weight: 190

Member Biography

Vernon "Catfish" Smith played end for Georgia 1929-31 and made All-America in 1931. His most famous game was on October 12, 1929. He was responsible for all the points as Georgia upset a favored Yale team 15-0. Smith scored a touchdown by falling on a blocked punt in the end zone. He kicked the extra point. He made a second touchdown on a pass from Spud Chandler. (Chandler later became famous as a baseball pitcher with the New York Yankees). Smith added two points for Georgia when he tackled Albie Booth in the end zone for a safety. The tackle was somewhat rough, and Booth shouted at Smith, "that kind of stuff doesn't go around here." Smith replied, "Neither do you." That game was played on the day Georgia dedicated its Sanford Stadium. In 1979 Georgia celebrated the 50th anniversary of the stadium. And on that day Smith was given his on-campus salute for induction into the College Football Hall of Fame. Smith also played basketball and baseball and captained both teams. For the period 1932-41 he was on the coaching staffs at Georgia, South Carolina and Mississippi. He joined the Army Air Force, rose to the rank of colonel, and retired in 1963. He earned the following: Legion of Merit, Air Force Commendation Medal (twice), World War II Victory Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Air Force Reserve Medal, Air Force Longevity Medal. He moved to Maui, Hawaii, and later to LaJolla, California. Smith was born January 14, 1908, at Macon, Georgia. He and his wife, Polly, raised eight children. He died September 29, 1988.