Melvin Smith, who has 18-years of experience coaching in the Southeastern Conference, has been named cornerbacks coach at Auburn, head coach Gus Malzahn announced Tuesday. Smith spent the previous seven seasons coaching cornerbacks and secondary at Mississippi State.
"Melvin is an outstanding secondary coach and is one of the top recruiters in the Southeastern Conference," Malzahn said. "He has a reputation for his ability to develop players and his 31-year coaching resume speaks for itself. We're excited to have Melvin join our staff."
Smith, who coached cornerbacks for MSU since 2007 after coaching the entire secondary in 2006, mentored Jonathan Banks who won the 2012 Jim Thorpe Award, which is presented annually to the nation's top defensive back. Banks was also a Walter Camp All-American and a first-team All-SEC selection.
This past season, Smith helped a Bulldogs defense that had 30 takeaways, which led the SEC and was 12th nationally. Darius Slay, a second-team All-SEC pick, tied for the league lead in interceptions with five, while Banks was tied for third in the league with four.
"I'm really looking forward to this opportunity to work for Coach Malzahn and Auburn," Smith said. "I've admired Gus' work from afar and have always loved his offenses. When we discussed this job, Gus told me that he was looking for men of character and integrity who were excellent coaches. When I saw who he hired to his staff and having worked previously with Ellis (Johnson), Charlie (Harbison) and J.B. (Grimes), I knew that's exactly that was the type of men he was hiring. This is a tremendous opportunity for me and my family."
In 2009, Smith guided a young group, yet the Bulldog secondary led the SEC with 17 interceptions. Led by then-freshman Corey Broomfield's six picks, the corners improved as the season progressed. For his efforts, Broomfield was named Freshman All-Southeastern Conference. In 2011, Smith continued to tutor Broomfield and Banks, who developed into an All-SEC performer and was named a semifinalist for the Jim Thorpe Award.
Smith returned to Mississippi State in 2006 after spending time at both Alabama and Texas A&M. In just his second season back at MSU, Smith helped the Bulldogs' pass defense rank fourth in the SEC, allowing just 182.2 yards per game, sixth in pass efficiency defense (114.8). The Bulldogs improved their interception total from 12 to 15.
A native of Taylorsville, Miss., who grew up in Magee, Miss., Smith was an assistant football coach at Mississippi State for seven years (1995-2001), helping guide the Bulldogs through the greatest period in the school's football history.
The 31-year coaching veteran came back to Mississippi State following three seasons at Texas A&M, where he coached the safeties. During his tenure in College Station, Texas, Smith helped the Aggies to a 7-4 regular season record in 2004 and a berth in the 2005 Cotton Bowl.
Prior to his stint at A&M and immediately following his seven years at MSU, Smith coached the safeties at Alabama in 2002, where the Crimson Tide team posted a 10-3 regular season record. In 2000, three of his four defensive backfield starters signed professional football contracts. That secondary intercepted 19 passes, the second-most in school history. Smith has also coached on the collegiate level in Mississippi at Ole Miss (1992-94) and Delta State (1990-91). He began his coaching career on the high school level at Greenwood (Miss.) from 1982-89.
Smith holds a master's degree in administration from Delta State (1992) and a bachelor's degree in health and physical education from Millsaps College. Smith is married to the former Sheilah McLemore and the couple has four children: sons Robert and Melvin, and daughters Deondra and Ashlee.
2007-12: Mississippi State (Cornerbacks)
2006: Mississippi State (Secondary)
2003-05: Texas A&M (Safeties)
2002: Alabama (Safeties)
1996-2001: Mississippi State (Defensive Backs)
1995: Mississippi State (Wide Receivers)
1992-94: Ole Miss (Tight Ends / Wide Receivers)
1991: Delta State (Defensive Coordinator / Linebackers)
1990: Delta State University (Defensive Backs)
1982-89: Greenwood (Miss.) HS