Norman Smith was assistant coach to David Ward at the club
It was with much sadness that the club this week learned of the death of former A team and assistant first team coach Norman Smith, aged 69.
Norman was born in Kirkstall and attended Burley St Mathias School before going to Kirkstall Road School. He played Rugby League for Leeds City Boys and enjoyed a highly successful amateur career with Kirkstall Boys and Leeds Electric before turning professional with Dewsbury. He coached at Dewsbury and also played and coach at Milford Marlins, where he is fondly remembered.
He arrived at Leeds to coach the A team under Maurice Bamford and was credited with talking his old school pal John Holmes out of retirement to help bring through the next generation of players in the A team. The pair enjoyed great success with the A team in the next few years.
When David Ward became Head Coach in 1989, Norman was promoted to assistant coach. Norman had run a number of summer camps in the city over a long period when the best young players in the city were given extra coaching in the then off-season and his encyclopaedic knowledge of the game was a vital asset to the backroom team at Headingley.
He remained hugely respected and loved in the Rugby League community, both the professional and amateur game, and will be sadly missed by all who knew him. He suffered a brain haemorrhage and passed away at the end of last week.
The Rhinos players will wear black armbands this Friday for our home game against Wakefield Trinity as a mark of respect for Norman and our condolences go to his family and friends at this time.
Norman Smith RIP