Entering his ninth year at the helm of the RedHawk program, head coach Tracy Smith is building a baseball dynasty at Miami University. Just one season before Smith arrived in Oxford, Miami's baseball team suffered one of its worst seasons in the history of the program, finishing with a 12-40 mark.
However, in eight years at Miami, Smith has reached the Mid-American Conference Tournament eight times, including five championship game appearances and the 2000 championship title. Smith has amassed a 272-202-1 (.573) career record and a Mid-American Conference regular-season mark of 135-91 (.597). He is only the fourth baseball coach in Miami's history to register 100 wins and the third to amass 200 victories, a milestone he reached when the RedHawks defeated Eastern Michigan, 14-13, in the 2002 MAC Tournament.
Two years ago, Smith led the RedHawks to their fifth MAC Championship game appearance in the last seven years. Despite losing in the championship game to Eastern Michigan, the Red and White accomplished a first under Smith's tutelage, and that was receiving six all-MAC selections. In fact, Miami's six all-league selections in 2003 were the most the program has ever received from the conference. Previous highs were four all-MAC selections in 1972, 1983, 1993 and 2000, and another four were named to the team in 2004. Michael Carlin was the team's lone first-team selection, while David Cook, Michael Gardner, Mike Ferris, John Slone and Graham Taylor all were named to the second team.
During Smith's era, Miami players have been named to the all-MAC first team 14 times, as well as four All-America selections, Jason Knoedler in 2001, Michael Carlin in 2002 and both Mike Ferris and John Slone in 2004. In addition, 18 student-athletes have been recognized as academic all-MAC selections, including 2000 & 2001 Verizon Academic All-Americans Tom Yost and Luke Reinhart, respectively.
The most impressive record, however, that Smith has to date is the number of players that he has sent on to the professional level. Over the past five years, 18 different RedHawks have either been drafted or have signed Major League Baseball free agent contracts. Six Red and White players have been drafted in the top-10 rounds of the draft, which includes one second-round pick, two fifth-round selections, one sixth, one eighth and one ninth round pick. In the last five years, Miami has the second highest number of top-ten picks in the conference. Overall, the MAC has accounted for 25 top-ten round picks in the last five years.
The 2000 Ohio College Coach of the Year, Smith directed the 2000 squad to its first MAC Tournament Championship since 1983. The RedHawks also went on to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1983, playing at the Arizona State Regional where they were able to notch a victory over Creighton before bowing out with losses to Arizona State and Texas.
After guiding Miami to one of its better records in school history in 1999, a 34-27 overall mark, Smith surpassed his career season-best win total in 2000, ending the year at 40-23. The 40 wins are the most for Miami since 1977 when the team won a school-record 45 contests. Smith has skippered the RedHawks to six straight 30-win seasons, marking only the second time in program history that Miami has accomplished that feat.
A member of the Miami University Cradle of Coaches, Smith is familiar with Miami's rich baseball tradition. A four-year letterwinner from 1985 through 1988, Smith was a shortstop, third baseman and pitcher for the Red and White. In 1988, Smith captained the team to a 37-22 mark, the fifth-highest single-season win total in Miami baseball history.
After graduation, Smith spent three seasons as a minor league pitcher and infielder in the Chicago Cubs organization from 1988-1990.
Smith began his coaching career in 1990 as head coach at the Miami University-Middletown campus. In the fall of 1992, Smith participated in the Major League Scouting Bureau's Professional Scout School as a representative of the Chicago Cubs.
Smith was an assistant coach at Miami for the 1993 and 1994 seasons. During that time he served as hitting instructor and worked with infielders and outfielders.
Before returning to Miami as the head coach, Smith spent two seasons as the pitching coach at Indiana University. In Smith's final season, the Hoosiers boasted the lowest ERA in the Big Ten, won the Big Ten Tournament and advanced to the 1996 NCAA Midwest Regional. Three of Smith's pitchers were chosen in the major league draft in 1996.
Smith, 38, earned his bachelor's degree in education from Miami in 1989 and completed a master's degree in sport organization in 1992.
Tracy and his wife, Jaime, reside in Oxford with their sons Casey (14), Ty (11), and Jack (7).