John won six consecutive world championships as a competitor from 1987-92, including gold medals at the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul and at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, and he owns five national championships as head coach of the Cowboys.
Smith accepted the head coaching position at Oklahoma State in 1992 and has led his alma mater to five NCAA team titles, coached 31 NCAA individual champions, and five Olympians. Under his watch, the Cowboys have brought 16 team conference championships and 102 individual conference titles back to Stillwater. He has seen 117 of his student-athletes earn All-American recognition, an average of 4.7 All-America honorees per year.
He was recognized as the National Wrestling Coaches Association coach of the year in 1994 and 2003 and is a 15-time selection as his conference's coach of the year (1994 and 1996 in the Big Eight and 1997, 1998, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 in the Big 12).
In brief, Smith compiled a 105-5 record as a high school wrestler at Del City HS in Del City, Okla., before moving on to Oklahoma State, where he put together a 152-8-2 collegiate record that included a pair of NCAA individual championships in 1987 and 1988. He was a three-time All-America selection at OSU in 1985, 1987 and 1988. On the international stage, Smith rolled to a 100-5 career record that included six world championships (1987, 88, 89, 90, 91 and 92), two Olympic gold medals (1988 and 92), two Pan American Games gold medals (1987 and 91) and two Goodwill Games gold medals (1986 and 90).
To this day, Smith holds Oklahoma State school records for career victories (152), single-season victories (47 in 1988), career falls (38) and single-season falls (19 in 1988). A three-time Big Eight Conference individual champion in 1985, 1987 and 1988,
After Smith's junior year at Oklahoma State, he won the first of his six world championships in Clermont-Ferrand, France. Smith remains the only collegiate wrestler to win a world championship while he was still in school. Following his graduation in 1988, Smith qualified for the U.S. Olympic freestyle team and came away from the Seoul Olympics with the first of his two Olympic gold medals and the second of his six consecutive world titles. Three more world championships ensued in 1989, 1990 and 1991 before Smith claimed the second of his Olympic gold medals at the 1992 Barcelona games to cement his legacy as one of the greatest wrestlers of all time.
Smith was honored as the first wrestler ever to be voted as the James E. Sullivan Award winner as America's outstanding amateur athlete when he won the award in 1990. He was the first American ever to be chosen Master of Technique and Wrestler of the Year by the International Wrestling Federation (FILA) when he received the honor in 1990. In 1992, he was presented with the Amateur Athletic Foundation's World Trophy. A 2003 inductee into the FILA International Wrestling Hall of Fame, a distinguished member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and a 1997 inductee into the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame, Smith was recognized as one of the 100 Greatest Olympians of All Time at the 1996 Atlanta Games. Smith was the 1991 selection as FILA's Outstanding Wrestler of the Year after earning Man of the Year honors from Amateur Wrestling News in 1988, Athlete of the Year recognition from USA Wrestling in 1989 and Sportsman of the Year honors from the U.S. Olympic Committee in 1990. In 2004, Smith was presented with the Titan Award by the U.S. Olympic Committee, and the next year, he joined his brother Pat as one of 15 wrestlers named to the NCAA's 75th Anniversary Team.
In 1995, Smith married the former Toni Donaldson. The couple has three sons - Joseph, Samuel and Levi
and two daughters - Isabell and Cecilia.
:: Oklahoma State's All-Time Winningest Coach with a 296-44-5 career record
:: Two-Time NWCA National Coach of the Year (1994, 2003)
:: Five-Time NCAA Champion Coach (1995, 2003, 04, 05, 06)
:: 11-Time Conference Team Champion Coach (1994, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2010)
:: Eight-Time Big 12 Coach of the Year (1997, 1998, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2010)
:: Two-Time Big Eight Coach of the Year (1994, 1996)
:: 23 NCAA Individual Champions Coached
:: 89 NCAA All-Americans Coached
:: 65 Conference Individual Champions Coached
:: Head Coach, USA Olympic Wrestling Team (2000)
:: Head Coach, USA World Championships Team (1998, 2009)
:: Head Coach, USA World Cup Team (1997)
:: Six-Time World Champion Wrestler (1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992)
:: Two-Time Olympic Gold Medalist (1988, 1992)
:: Two-Time Pan American Games Gold Medalist (1987, 1991)
:: Two-Time Goodwill Games Gold Medalist (1986, 1990)
:: Two-Time NCAA Wrestling Champion (1987, 1988)
:: Recipient, Amateur Athletic Foundation World Trophy (1992)
:: First Ever American To Earn FILA's Master of Technique Award (Best technical wrestler in the world, 1990)
:: First Wrestler Ever To Win James E. Sullivan Award (Nation's top amateur athlete, 1990)
:: U.S. Olympic Committee Sportsman of the Year (1990)
:: FILA Outstanding Wrestler of the Year (1991)
:: USA Wrestling Athlete of the Year (1989)
:: Amateur Wrestling News Man of the Year (1988)
:: U.S. Olympic Committee Titan Award (2004)
:: Named one of the 100 Greatest Olympians of All-Time (1996)
:: Member, FILA Hall of Fame (Inducted in 2003)
:: Distinguished Member, National Wrestling Hall of Fame (inducted in 1997)
:: Member, Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame (inducted in 1997)
:: Member, NCAA 75th Anniversary Team (2005)
:: NWCA College Wrestler of the Year (1987)
NCAA Coaching Record
At Oklahoma State: 384-59-6
Records as a Wrestler
International Record: 100-5
Domestic Freestyle Record: 77-3
Collegiate Record: 154-7-2
High School Record: 105-5