Maurice "Clipper" Smith was born in Manteno, Illinois on October 15, 1898.

He attended the University of Notre Dame and played halfback and then guard under Knute Rockne. His team in 1916 posted a 9-1 record and in 1917 he was named captain and led his team to a 7-1-1 record earning All American honors. After graduation he joined Rockne's coaching staff as the line coach and then moved on to Columbia College.

He was head coach and athletic director at Columbia (1921-1924), head coach at Gonzaga University (1925-1927), Santa Clara University (1930-1935), Villanova (1936-1942) and the University of San Francisco in 1946. After leaving the Yanks he coached at Lafayette for thee years. He also coached basketball at Gonzaga and baseball for one season. His football coaching record in college was 108-76-12.

After a stellar coaching career in college, he became the head coach of the Boston Yanks in 1947 and 1948. But the Yanks had a 7-16-1 record in the 24 games he coached.

After retiring from football he became head of personnel for Pratt & Whitney, a position he held for 24 years.

Clipper Smith was inducted into the College Hall of Fame in 1975 and passed away on March 18, 1984, at age 85, in Laguna Beach, California.