BOZICH: Indiana' Smith Top Coach: Louisville Second CWS Pick - WDRB 41 Louisville News

BOZICH: Indiana' Smith Top Coach: Louisville Second CWS Pick

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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. 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 said.

Wrong.

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 here.

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 Stony Brook.

*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.

(Here is the link to the story.)

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).

Matthew Leach of MLB.com previewed the College World Series in this story.

Copyright 2013 WDRB News. All Rights Reserved.

 

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