Lovie Smith is now a part of the largest sports management firm in the world, and the Chicago Bears coach didn’t even have to switch agents.
Matthew Smith, who negotiated his father’s two-year contract extension with the Bears in February of 2011, accepted a position with IMG Worldwide. The 26-year-old Smith now works as a client manager in the coaching division.
"I’m as proud as any dad can be," Lovie Smith said. "That’s what he’s always wanted to do in his life, and he did it the right way. Now it’s on to the real world. And he was able get with a good group, a good firm, in IMG."
Matthew Smith is fully aware of how some might perceive his new position.
"People might assume that IMG only hired me to get to my father," he said. "I can only continue to work as hard as I can, like I did in school and at my internships, to make the most out of the opportunities afforded to me."
The younger Smith graduated from Northwestern and Loyola Chicago School of Law and recently passed the Illinois Bar Exam. He completed internships with two highly recognized sports agencies: Creative Arts Agency (CAA) and Priority Sports and Entertainment.
Sandy Montag, IMG’s senior corporate vice president, was impressed from the start.
"He was recommended to us and we interviewed him, we thought Matt was a really smart guy," Montag said. "He has a lot to offer our company, especially in terms of coaches. We see a lot of upside in him. We really think he can grow and build our business."
IMG represents approximately 50 professional and college coaches, including Tom Coughlin (Giants) and Mike Shanahan (Redskins).
Matthew Smith brings four new coaches to IMG: his father; older brother and Bears nickel backs coach Mikal Smith, Bears offensive assistant Andrew Hayes-Stoker and Toledo associate head coach/running game coordinator Louis Ayeni, a former safety at Northwestern.
Matthew Smith is expected to negotiate another extension for his father, but those talks will take place after the season. Having IMG behind them is certain to help the father-son tandem at the negotiating table.
Lovie Smith is more concerned about the individual representing him.
"As far as picking an agent, I go more with picking the guy,’’ Smith said. "It just happens to be that Matthew is with IMG. I’ve just seen him grow in so many different ways. He’s always been driven. He’s always had a plan."