It’s now officially official: Eddie Smith is LSU’s new hitting coach.
LSU confirmed the hire in a press release sent out on Tuesday afternoon. Tiger Rag and other outlets reported on Sunday night that Smith would replace Sean Ochinko as LSU’s volunteer assistant/hitting coach.
“We’re extremely excited to add Eddie Smith to our staff, and we’re very fortunate to have him,” Mainieri said through the school release. “Eddie is a very experienced coach with a proven track record of success. He combines his intelligence and coaching ability with a tremendous work ethic, and he is going to be a very impactful asset to our program.”
Mainieri also release a statement thanking Ochinko for his contribution to the program: “I’d like to thank Sean Ochinko, one of the all-time great players at LSU, for his work on our staff the past three seasons. He has contributed so much to our program both as a player and as a coach.”
Smith, 35, served as Tulane’s full-time assistant and recruiting coordinator for the past three seasons. The 2019 Green Wave offense set several American Athletic Conference records: Home runs (89), batting average (.302), runs per game (7.69), runs scored (446), total bases (1,055), slugging percentage (.518), extra-base hits (241) and walks per game (4.88).
Here is additional background information on Smith courtesy of LSU’s official release:
In his 13 seasons as a college baseball coach, Smith has tutored 48 players that were chosen in the Major League Baseball Draft, including 23 selected in the top 10 rounds, and 13 players he has coached have played in the Major Leagues.
Smith’s pupils at Tulane included 2019 MLB first-round draft choice and first-team all-American Kody Hoese, and 2019 first-team Freshman all-American Hudson Haskin.
The Olympia, Wash., native spent four seasons as head coach at Lower Columbia College in Longview, Wash. A graduate of Notre Dame – where he played for Mainieri in 2005 and 2006 – Smith has also coached at Virginia, Notre Dame and Santa Clara.
As head coach at Lower Columbia College from 2014-17, Smith led the Red Devils to three straight West Region titles and Northwest Athletic Conference championships in 2015 and 2017. He was named the 2015 ABCA/Diamond Pacific Association Division National Coach of the Year. In addition, 27 players received Division I opportunities after playing at Lower Columbia, and the 2015 team finished the season ranked No. 10 in the country.
Smith began coaching as an assistant at Virginia, where he helped the program emerge as a national power, earning three ACC Championships and two College World Series appearances from 2007-11.
In 2012 he joined the Santa Clara coaching staff as the hitting and third base coach, and he then became an assistant coach at Notre Dame in 2013.
As a player, Smith spent two years at Notre Dame, where he helped the Fighting Irish to two Big East Conference Championships and NCAA Tournament appearances, including a No. 8 national ranking as a senior in 2006. He received his bachelor’s degree in Spanish from Notre Dame in 2006, and earned All-Big East academic honors.
Smith began his college playing career at Centralia (Wash.) Community College, helping the Trailblazers set a school record for wins in 2004. He was inducted into the Centralia College Sports Hall of Fame in 2012.
Smith has also had stints in international coaching, spending time in the Dominican Republic, Aruba and Japan while also having played games in Russia and Canada. In 2015, he was a member of the USA Baseball staff as an assistant coach with the 17U U.S. National Team Development Program.
Is Eddie Smith on staff with a salary or is he a volunteer coach? I’m confused.