The 2014 season will be Hall of Fame coach Tom Smith's fifth year as head of the UNC Asheville baseball program.
In 2012, Smith directed the Asheville program to 25 victories and a fourth-place finish in the Big South Conference. The Bulldogs were a preseason pick to finish in last place but recorded 12 league victories, the second highest in the program's history. Asheville recorded two wins at NCAA participant College of Charleston plus an exciting 12-inning win over Western Carolina to highlight the season.
The 2011 campaign saw Smith guide the Bulldogs to 15 victories and won a Big South Conference series from league champion Coastal Carolina for the first time in eight years. Asheville also picked up its first ever sweep of mountain rival Western Carolina.
In his first year, the Bulldogs moved from nine wins to 17 victories. Asheville was a preseason pick to finish in last place in the Big South Conference. The Bulldogs used a late-season surge to finish in seventh place and qualify for the Big South Tournament. Smith's club won five straight conference games to move from 10th place to the seventh spot. Other highlights included an impressive non-conference victory over Southern Conference champion College of Charleston plus winning conference series from Liberty and Charleston Southern.
He has served as a volunteer assistant coach at Asheville in 2008 and a part-time assistant in 2009 before being named head coach.
Before coming to UNC Asheville, Smith was one of the top high school coaches in the nation at T.C. Roberson HS in Asheville. He coached the Rams program for 28 years and led the school to three 3-A state titles in 1983, 2000 and 2002. The Rams won 14 conference titles during his tenure.
"Tom Smith is a proven leader with tremendous desire who will direct our baseball program forward," stated Director of Athletics Janet R Cone upon Smith's hiring. "He has the knowledge of the game of baseball and is a proven recruiter.
"We are confident that Tom Smith will get the job done with our baseball program in the classroom and the community," stated Cone. "We are equally as confident he will lead our program to being just as competitive on the field.
Smith had 20 players drafted by major league teams during his time at Roberson. The list includes pitcher Darren Holmes who went to pitch 17 years in the major leagues, current left-hander pitcher Chris Narveson of the Milwaukee Brewers and outfielder Cameron Maybin of the San Diego Padres, who was drafted in the first round in 2005.
In January of 2010, January Smith was inducted into the North Carolina Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame. The Association is made up of coaches of amateur baseball throughout the state.
Smith was honored by Roberson in May of 2012 when he was named to the school's Ring of Honor.
Tom and his wife Karen have two children, Kenny and Katie. Kenny enjoyed a standout collegiate career at UNC Wilmington and Western Carolina. He served as a volunteer assistant for two years at Asheville before being hired by MEAC power Bethune-Cookman in the fall of 2011.