Stade Malherbe Caen (commonly referred to as SM Caen or simply Caen) is a professional French football team, playing in the city of Caen, Normandie. The club was founded on 17 November 1913 following the merger of Club Malherbe Caennais and Club Sportif Caennais. The team takes its name from Lycée Malherbe, named after François de Malherbe (1555–1628), a poet, critic and translator, who was a native of Caen.
For the longest part of its history, SM Caen remained one of the leading amateur club in France, playing upon its foundation at Stade de Venoix. The late 1980s and early 1990s saw the rise of Stade Malherbe in the French football hierarchy. In 1985, Stade Malherbe adopted professional status. Three seasons later, it was promoted for the first time to the first division. In 1992, several months after it was narrowly saved from bankruptcy, the club finished fifth in Division 1 and qualified for the UEFA Cup. In 1993, the club moved to the modern Stade Michel d’Ornano, but was relegated two years later. Despite a second division title won in 1996, SM Caen quickly fell back into the anonymity of the second division.