Courtesy of Ohio Sports Information
ATHENS, Ohio –
Ohio University Director of Athletics Jim Schaus named former Creighton Bluejays Associate head coach Rob Smith as the new head coach of the Bobcats’ baseball program on Monday. With 16 years of coaching experience, Smith becomes the ninth head coach in school history.
Smith will be formally introduced at a press conference on Tuesday at 2 p.m. The press conference will be streamed online at www.ohiobobcats.com.
“I am so excited to lead the Ohio University baseball program,” Smith said. “I am so grateful to Jim Schaus for this opportunity. I believe there is a lot of potential with the baseball program at Ohio and I look forward to continuing the tradition that has been put in place.”
Smith comes to Athens following six years at Creighton. During his time, Smith helped the Blue Jays to a record of 213-133, three NCAA Regional appearances and three Missouri Valley Conference titles (2007, 2011 and 2012). Creighton has also won four NCAA Tournament games with Smith on the Blue Jays’ staff, including two games this season, defeating San Diego and New Mexico.
“In our exhaustive national search, Rod Smith stood out as the very best candidate to lead our baseball program,” Schaus said. “With the goal of building a consistently winning program, Rob offers a stellar track record of success. During his six years at baseball powerhouse Creighton, he played a critical role in leading the Bluejays to three conference championships in the highly rated Missouri Valley Conference, three trips to the NCAA tournament an four NCAA tournament wins.”
In his first five seasons with the Bluejays, Smith coached five All-Americans, two freshman All-Americans, one MVC Pitcher of the Year, two MVC Newcomers of the Year and had five pitchers offered professional contracts with the most recent selection coming this season when Creighton junior Ty Blach was selected in the fifth round by the San Francisco Giants.
Blach’s selection by the Giants was the highest a Creighton player had been drafted since 1999. In all, during his 10 year stint as a Division I pitching coach, Smith has developed 12 pitchers who have been drafted or offered professional contracts.
“He has had a dynamic impact at every stop during his 16-year coaching career,” Schaus went on to say. “He has a renowned reputation in building a successful pitching staff, which has consistently led their conference and has regularly ranked in the top 20 in ERA nationally. Rob is also known for his recruiting prowess as well as his ability to develop players. He has tremendous energy and passion that is infectious. I am very excited about the next chapter of Ohio Baseball under his leadership.”
Smith’s staffs have twice led the MVC in pitching (2008, 2009) while ranking in the top 20 nationally in lowest ERA over his first five years.
Smith came to Creighton after a successful five-year stint at Purdue University. He arrived at Purdue in the fall of 2001 and spent five seasons training the Boilermaker pitching staff. In his last season in West Lafayette, Purdue had its most wins since 2001 (31) and three pitchers were named all-conference.
In addition, he helped lead Purdue to its third straight Big Ten Tournament berth which marked the first time in program history that had been accomplished.
Three members of his pitching staff were drafted, tying a school-record. In 2002, hurler Chadd Blasko was picked in the supplemental first round, 36th overall, making him Purdue’s highest draftee since 1993.
Purdue’s staff ERA dropped by more than 1.7 runs per game in Smith’s five seasons, going from 5.95 in 2002 all the way down to 4.23 in 2006. The 2006 team ERA was Purdue’s fourth-best staff mark since the introduction of aluminum bats in 1974. Purdue’s 2005 league ERA of 3.29 was more than one full run better than any other staff in the Big Ten.
Under his guidance, the 2005 and 2006 Boilermaker staffs each had strikeout to walk ratios of 2-to-1, or better, for just the third and fourth times since 1974.
Smith’s playing career started at Vincennes University in 1991 and finished at Indiana Southeast in 1994. He earned his college degree at Indiana University in 1998. Smith also served as a volunteer assistant coach at Purdue in 1999, where he worked with pitchers, catchers and recruiting.
He and his wife, RaeAnna, have three daughters (Sierra, Serena, Isabelle) and one son (Tyson).