Kermit Smith, Appalachian State Mountaineers

Appalachian State Mountaineers

Kermit Smith named the 13th head baseball coach at Appalachian State Mountaineers on July 14, 2016.

In Smith’s first year, the Appalachian State Mountaineers finished with 19 wins and taking a key victory against nationally ranked Louisiana on March 18. Appalachian improved in many facets of the game in just year one under Smith, having the most home runs and walks since 2012, lowest team ERA since 2014 and most strikeouts from the mound since 2010.

A 15-year head coaching veteran, Smith spent seven years at Lander (2009-16), where he was the winningest coach in program history with an overall 244-134 (.645) record. He took the Bearcats to four Peach Belt Conference (PBC) tournaments and three NCAA tournaments over the past five years. With 16 signees overall, Smith had 12 student-athletes sign contracts with Major League Baseball (MLB) affiliates while at Lander, including a program record, four, in 2016.

The Bearcats have advanced to the NCAA Division II College World Series twice in the last three seasons, including a second time in 2016, finishing the season with a 44-16 record. The Bearcats finished the season ranked No. 3 in the Collegiate Baseball poll, the highest finish in program history and Smith was named ABCA/Diamond Southeast Regional Coach of the Year.

Smith set a program record for wins in a season during the 2014 campaign when the Bearcats finished 52-8 overall and ended the season with a No. 4 ranking in the Collegiate Baseball poll, while garnering the nation’s most prolific offense, leading Division II in home runs and runs scored. The Bearcats won the Southeast Regional and advanced to their first College World Series.

Among the highlights of the 2014 season, the Bearcats finished 27-3 on their home field (Dolny Stadium) and Smith was awarded PBC Coach of the Year and Atlantic Region Coach of the Year, while freshman pitcher Brandon White was named PBC Freshman of the Year.

The Bearcats posted back-to-back 30-win campaigns in 2012 (38 wins) and 2013 (35 wins) for the first time since the 2005-06 seasons. Under Smith in 2012, junior pitcher Chris Thomas won the PBC Pitcher of the Year, becoming the first Bearcat to ever receive a postseason conference award. In addition, Smith’s 38 wins during the 2012 season broke the program record for wins in a season and led the team to its first appearance in the NCAA tournament.

In just his second season at the helm of the Bearcats, Smith won 29 games (most for the program since 2006) and took Lander to the PBC tournament for the first time since the 1998 campaign.

Prior to Smith’s tenure at Lander, he spent eight years as Belmont-Abbey’s head coach and nine overall with the Crusaders. Much like his time at Lander, Smith became the winningest coach in program history on March 5, 2008. While at Belmont Abbey, he claimed two Conference Carolinas regular-season championships, a 2009 tournament championship with a NCAA Division II Southeast Regional Championship and an advancement to the 2009 NCAA Division II College World Series.

Similar to his successes at Lander, Smith led the Crusaders to their first NCAA Division II College World Series in 2009 – finishing the season with a 40-26 record and winning the Carolinas Conference regular-season title and qualified for Regionals with their first-ever conference tournament championship. He was named South Atlantic Region Coach of the Year.

Following a trip to the 2008 NCAA Division II South Atlantic Regional, Smith’s pupil, second baseman Alex Castellanos, was drafted 10th overall in the MLB Amateur Draft by the St. Louis Cardinals. Castellanos last appeared in the Major Leagues with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2013. He is currently playing for the Colorado Rockies Triple-A affiliate, the Albuquerque Isotopes, after signing a contract during the offseason in December 2015. He has appeared in 17 games with a slashline of .271/.317/.441 and two home runs and eight RBI.

Smith also served as the chair for the Conference Carolinas coaches, while also being the chair for the Belmont Abbey coaches’ council. Smith was an active member of the community and served as the head coach for the Gaston Braves American Legion team from 2002-07, guiding them to a 99-62 record.

Smith graduated from Pfeiffer University in 2000 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in sports management and a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration. He played one season at Pfeiffer for former Appalachian State baseball coach and current Duke University baseball head coach, Chris Pollard. Smith also earned a master’s degree in sports management from California University in Pennsylvania in 2007.

He is a native of Arcadia, Fla. and is the son of Sue Ellen and the late George Kilpatrick Smith. Smith and his wife, Rebecca, are the proud parents of two sons, Maddox Kilpatrick and Beckett Thomas, and a daughter, Georgia Grace.

SMITH’S COACHING CAREER AT A GLANCE

2000-01 — Belmont Abbey College (assistant coach)
2001-07 — American Legion Post 144-266 (head coach)
2001-09 — Belmont Abbey College (head coach — Two Conference Carolinas Titles, NCAA Division II Regional Title, 2009 College World Series)
2009-2016 — Lander University (head coach — PBC Conference Championship, Two NCAA Division II Regional Titles, Two College World Series)
2016- — Appalachian State University (head coach)

HONORS AND AWARDS
2009 — South Atlantic Region Coach of the Year
2014 — South Atlantic Region Coach of the Year and Peach Belt Conference Coach of the Year

About the author, Bill

Bill Ballew has been involved with collegiate and professional baseball since 1983. He has been the Atlanta correspondent for Baseball America since 1991 and has served as the editorial content manager for Baseball The Magazine for more than five years. He is a member of the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA), National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) and the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR).