BA 1992, Sociology
Executive Vice President and General Manager, Houston Texans
Rick Smith is in his sixth season as Texans general manager and first as executive vice president, overseeing all aspects of football operations. Smith has steadily strengthened Houston's roster during his tenure through the draft, free agency and several trades at key positions.
With Smith at the helm, Houston earned its first playoff appearance since the team joined the NFL in 2001.
As general manager, Smith oversees all aspects of football operations. He works closely with the coaching and scouting staffs to build the club roster via free agency as well as overseeing the annual college draft. Smith has assembled a front office staff that has the Texans pointed toward sustained success in the NFL.
Smith has established himself as a prominent voice around the league in his years at the helm with the Texans. He was appointed to the NFL’s prestigious eight-man Competition Committee by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Dec. 5, 2008. Smith was honored with the 2008 Tank Younger Award, presented annually by the Fritz Pollard Alliance for outstanding work in an NFL front office. Smith was an original member of the General Managers Advisory Committee that provides advice and other feedback to the NFL Football Operations department on the integrity of the game, expansion of technology and other ways to improve the game.
In his former role with the Broncos, Smith was responsible for evaluating players from around the NFL as well as those in NFL Europe, the Canadian Football League, the Arena Football League and other professional leagues. He also played a central role in the club’s preparation for the college draft and was one of the Broncos’ primary negotiators for player contracts. With Smith heading the pro personnel department, the Broncos posted the league’s fifth-best regular-season record from 2000-05, going 61-35 (.635). The 61 wins were the most of any AFC West team over that span, 10 more than the next closest team, Kansas City. Not surprisingly, Denver was one of only four teams in the NFL to reach the playoffs each season from 2003-05. Before moving into the front office, Smith spent four years as the Broncos’ assistant defensive backs coach and earned two Super Bowl rings while helping guide a unit that consistently ranked as one of the league’s best. The team won more games from 1996-98 (46) than any club during that three-year period.
Smith joined the Broncos on April 3, 1996, following a two-year stint as defensive backs coach at his alma mater, Purdue University. He left Purdue in February 1996 to accept a coaching position at TCU, but spent just one month at the school before being hired by the Broncos.
Smith began his coaching career as a graduate assistant with the Boilermakers shortly after his graduation, serving as the school’s assistant strength and conditioning coordinator. After serving as the team’s tight ends coach for one season, Smith was then hired as the secondary coach, becoming the youngest full-time position coach in the Big Ten Conference at the time at the age of 24.
Smith was a starter at strong safety and defensive captain for Purdue as a senior in 1991. A native of Petersburg, Va., he attended Meadowdale High School in Dayton, Ohio. Smith also is a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
Smith and his wife, Tiffany, live in Houston with sons Robert LaMar, Christian LaMar, and daughter Avery Jordan.