Gregory J. Smith, a sports consultant and former chief operating officer of the Maryland Stadium Authority, died of cancer Thursday at Gilchrist Hospice Care in Towson. The Lake-Walker resident was 48.
Born in Buffalo, N.Y., he was the son of Dennis Smith, a banker and Mary Smith, a homemaker. He earned a bachelor's degree in finance and economics at Manhattan College in Riverdale, N.Y., where he played Division 1 baseball. He then received a master's degree in business administration from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
He initially worked in management at KPMG, an accounting services firm. He then founded his own company, Smith Sports International, and came to Baltimore nearly 15 years ago as president of Bay Runners franchise in the International Basketball League. The league folded after a year.
"Through his experience in gathering investors in the basketball team, he got to know Steve Bisciotti," said his brother, Mark Smith of Baltimore. "As a young man, he said his ambition was to become the general manager of a professional baseball team."
Mr. Smith became Mr. Bisciotti's on-site representative for the Ravens' practice facility in Owings Mills. He coordinated environmental issues, oversaw construction deadlines and kept the project within budget.
He remained a sports consultant and worked with the Arena Football League's Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Pioneers.
"One of his biggest jobs was working for people who asked him to conduct due-diligence on the value of a team they were thinking about buying or investing in," his brother, Mark, a federal employee, said.
In 2005, as chief operating officer of the Maryland Stadium Authority, he worked with local business leaders to lure musical events, college championships and religious gatherings to downtown Baltimore's two stadiums. He was later named president of the Camden Yards Sports and Entertainment Commission.
In 2008 Mr. Smith became director of national business development for AccuRecord. He also remained a sports consultant and was recently involved in the management of the Denver Cutthroats, a minor league ice hockey team.
"Greg was able to share his talents to others with compassion and respect, in the business world, his charitable pursuits, and his personal endeavors," said a friend, Chris Oswald of Baltimore. "His endearing personality and quick wit made people at ease in their relationships with him and his family."
Mr. Oswald also said Mr. Smith knew the value of writing a note. "Greg never missed an opportunity to extend his sincere thanks with a note," he recalled.
Friends said Mr. Smith was an active member of St. Pius X Roman Catholic Church. He assisted in running a successful $2 million capital campaign and in establishing a parish charity, the Grateful Hearts Fund, which assists families financially during a hardship.
"Greg was charming, gregarious and self-deprecating," said a friend, attorney Stephen F. Fruin of Baltimore. "He was clever and outgoing and made friends easily. He was just a special guy. He lived to help you in any way he could."
He founded a golf tournament at Rocky Point Golf Course to raise funds for St. Pius parochial school's technology needs.
"When he saw need, Greg responded," said Carol Pacione, St. Pius X pastoral life director. "And he had the ability to get others to do the same."
Mr. Smith was a regular presence at Orioles and Ravens games. He was also a Buffalo Bills fans and was present for two of their Super Bowl games.
"At heart, Greg was a true Buffalonian," said his brother-in-law, Bill Chave of Milton, Mass. "His devotion to the city's ill-fated sports teams was surpassed only by his ability to embody that city's ingrained sense of family, community and friendliness. He also had the ability to share that spirit."
Friends said Mr. Smith never gave up his participating in active sports. He played third base on the St. Pius-Zen West softball team.
A funeral Mass will be held at 10 a.m. Monday at St. Pius X Roman Catholic Church, 6428 York Road in Rodgers Forge.
In addition to his brother, survivors include his wife of 23 years, Mary Beth Chave, a financial coordinator; two sons, Peter Smith of Chicago and Jack Smith of Buffalo; two daughters, Peggy Smith and Bridget Smith, both of Baltimore; three other brothers, Stephen Smith of Albany, N.Y., Christopher Smith of Little Silver, N.J., and Jeremy Smith of East Greenwich, R.I.; and two sisters, Denise Smith of Halifax, Nova Scotia, and Amy Luciano of Bridgeport, Conn.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun