Charles 'Bubba' Smith
Born: Feb. 28, 1945 in Beaumont, Texas
Died: Aug. 3, 2011
Charles A. "Bubba" Smith graduated from Charlton-Pollard High School, where he played for his father, Coach Willie Ray Smith. Bubba went on to play for Michigan State University and became one of MSU's all-time great players, winning All-Big Ten and All-America honors for 1965 and 1966 as the team stomped through two unbeaten seasons and became the national champions. Whether he was playing tackle, defensive end, or middle guard, fans would cheer him on with, "Kill, Bubba, Kill!"
In 1967, the Baltimore Colts made him their number one draft choice. Although his rookie season was plagued with injuries, Smith came back strong his second season, contributing to the Colts' record of 15 victories in 17 games. Bubba stayed with the Colts through the 1972 season. In his best season with the club, 1971, he blocked four field-goal attempts and had nine quarterback sacks. He played in the NFL championship game in 1968 and the Super Bowl in 1969 and 1971. He was chosen All-AFC in 1970 and 1971, and played in the Pro-Bowl in 1971 and 1972. He missed the 1972 season after knee surgery and was traded to the Oakland Raiders for Raymond Chester in 1973. Smith completed his career with the Houston Oilers in 1977.
Smith developed a successful second career as an actor, first working in Miller Lite beer commercials, then starring in the Police Academy movies as Moses Hightower. Smith eventually quit the beer campaign because he felt it sent the "wrong message to kids." Smith showed an enduring interest in education by endowing an engineering scholarship at Michigan State. He lived in Los Angeles, where he also served as president and CEO of Vital Aircraft Company, lobbying the Pentagon for government contracts.