Melvin Smith, who has nearly two decades of experience coaching in the Southeastern Conference and helped the Tigers to a 2013 SEC Championship and a BCS Championship berth this season, is in his first season as the cornerbacks coach at Auburn.
Auburn is tied for the biggest turnaround in college football history in NCAA records at +8.5 games and in Smith's first season, the Tiger secondary made drastic improvements in production, recording 13 interceptions after the Tigers only had two a year ago.
Smith coached senior cornerback Chris Davis, an Associated Press All-SEC second-team selection.
Prior to coming to Auburn, Smith spent the previous seven seasons coaching cornerbacks and the secondary at Mississippi State.
"Melvin is an outstanding secondary coach and is one of the top recruiters in the Southeastern Conference," Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn said. "He has a reputation for his ability to develop players and his 32-year coaching resume speaks for itself. We're excited to have Melvin on 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, presented annually to the nation's top defensive back. Banks was also a Walter Camp All-American and a first-team All-SEC selection.
In 2012, Smith tutored a Bulldog 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 added four.
In 2009, Smith guided a young group that 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-SEC. 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. In 2000, three of his four defensive backfield starters signed professional football contracts. That secondary intercepted 19 passes, the second-most in school history.
The 32-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, Smith helped the Aggies to a 7-4 regular season record in 2004 and a berth in the 2005 Cotton Bowl. Smith coached the safeties at Alabama in 2002, where the Crimson Tide team posted a 10-3 regular season record.
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. By the time he became an assistant at Delta State in 1990, he'd joined the Army Reserves for a stint that would eventually last eight years.
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.