Indiana baseball coach Tracy Smith was named national coach of the year Saturday prior to IU's game with Louisville in the College World Series.
OMAHA, Neb. (WDRB) – Tracy Smith has strolled into the
I-Lounge at Assembly Hall and looked at the portraits of the Indiana University
coaches who have been recognized as the national coaches of the year:
Bob Knight in men's basketball. Jerry Yeagley in men's
soccer. James "Doc" Counsilman in swimming. Sam Bell in track and field. Todd
Yeagley joined the club after he coached the IU men's soccer team to the NCAA
title last fall.
Smith coaches the Indiana baseball team. This is what Smith
regularly thought when he walked into that lounge:
" ‘How cool is that? That will never happen to me,' " Smith
It happened Saturday. Smith was named national coach of the
year by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association. Smith's team will
play the University Louisville at 8 p.m. Saturday in the College World Series
His first reaction?
"Are you serious?" Smith said.
His second reaction?
"Looking at what we've had to do as a team to get here,
because that thing is wrapped in a team, because if we go 14-48, you're not the
coach of the year," Smith said.
"I feel I'm the same person. But to look at what this team
has had to go through to get to this point and to look at the challenges we've
had to overcome, with facilities and all of those issues, to get our program up
and going and to get our program to be recognized on a national level, yeah, it
means a lot."
Smith follows Matt Senk, who won the award last year at
*Baseball America covers college baseball better than any
publication. (As a 10-year paid subscriber, I'm comfortable saying that.) BA
previews the college season in early winter and stays with it all the way
through the final pitch in Omaha.
So it worth noting how BA evaluates the eight teams here for
the CWS. Aaron Fitt graded the teams on the traditional baseball scouting scale
of 20-to-80 in seven categories – hitting, power, speed, defense, starting
pitching, bullpen and intangibles.
The favorite? No surprise. It's Louisiana State with an
average score of 65.
But coach Dan McDonnell's University of Louisville team is
tied with top seed North Carolina as the second choice with 63.6 points.
Indiana earned 56.4 points, the same score at Mississippi State and UCLA. BA
ranks that trio the sixth, seventh and eighth picks in Omaha.
Louisville is ranked at the top in speed, starting pitching
and relief pitching. IU's only top score came in hitting. BA questions
Indiana's defense and starting pitching. U of L's lowest score came in power.
*Major-League Baseball is watching. Scouts from all 30 teams
will be at TD Ameritrade Stadium to watch the guys who were taken in the
First-Year Player Draft last week – and to evaluate top underclassmen.
Seven of the eight teams had at least one guy drafted in the
top six rounds. The top two players are North Carolina infielder Colin Moran
(sixth overall pick by Miami) and Mississippi State outfielder Hunter Renfroe
(13th pick by San Diego).