BRIDGEWATER, Mass. – Bridgewater State University Interim Director of Athletics, Michael Storey, announced today that long-time head baseball coach, Rick, Smith, will retire at the conclusion of the 2018 season.
"Rich Smith has been the face of Bears baseball since 1994," exclaimed Storey. "His program has been one of the premier Division III baseball programs in New England over the last three decades. His coaching record speaks for itself with all the wins and postseason appearances, but his true legacy at Bridgewater State will be for the quality student-athletes he recruited and graduated during his tenure at BSU. He will not be easy to replace."
Smith, who is entering his 25th season at the helm of the BSU baseball program in 2018, has compiled an overall record of 545-354-5 (.606) as he is the winningest coach in Bridgewater State history. Smith has guided the Bears to ten NCAA Division III Tournament appearance including back-to-back World Series appearances in 1996 and 1997. The 1996 team set the program record for wins in a season (31) and finished third at the World Series.
A 2011 inductee into the BSU Athletics Hall of Fame, Smith currently ranks 38th among all active NCAA Division III baseball coaches in career wins (545).
During his first 24 seasons as the Bears' skipper, the baseball program has captured ten Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) regular season titles (1996-98, 2000-01, 2003-06, 2012) and five conference tournament championships (2001, 2003-04, 2011-12).
Smith was named the ABCA Division III New England Coach of the Year in 1996 and again in 2000. He is also a three-time recipient of the MASCAC Coach of the Year award (1998, 2000, 2012).
Smith is a 1972 graduate of Bridgewater-Raynham Regional High School where he starred as a pitcher for the Trojans. After attending Miami-Dade College, Smith was taken in the fifth round of the 1973 Major League Baseball January Amateur Draft by the St. Louis Cardinals.
Before coaching at Bridgewater State, Smith had been an assistant coach for Lou Colitti at Stonehill College for seven seasons from 1983 to 1989. He then came to Bridgewater and served as an assistant under former head coach Glenn Tufts from 1990 to 1993 before taking the reins in 1994.
Seven different players garnered ABCA All-America honors since Smith took over the baseball coaching reins at Bridgewater State in 1994. Pitchers Mike Marini (1998) and Kevin Cadres (2001) both earned the distinction as well as pitcher/first baseman Kevin O'Leary (1996), shortstop Chad Cambra (2003), left fielder Steve Smith (2005) and second baseman Sean Riley (2012). Cadres and Smith along with pitcher Fred Martin are members of the BSU Athletics Hall of Fame.
Under Smith's guidance, 16 different Bears have been selected to play in the annual NEIBA College All-Star including Marini (1998), Cadres (2000, 2001), Cambra (2003), Smith (2008) and Riley (2013), as well as Jim Martorana (1994), Chris Quirk (1994), Kevin O'Leary (1996), Mike McMahon (1997), Matt Poitras (1997), Justin Twieraga (1999), Jeff Cloonan (1999), Jeremy Winters (2003), Joe Harkins (2004), Brad Koneski (2009) and Corey Batista (2012).
"It has been both an honor and a privilege to have coached at BSU for the past 25 years, and I will value the friendships I have developed with my colleagues and opposing coaches," said Smith. "But what I will miss the most is the opportunity I was granted to have worked with so many talented young student-athletes and to have been a small part of them maturing as men.
Smith added, "The wins and losses are how we evaluate a coach's career, although mine has been very successful, I put a greater value on the young men that were taught humility, commitment and the importance of family under my tenure as Head Baseball Coach at BSU."
Smith resides in Raynham with his wife, Leah, and two daughters, Ariana and Sydney. Ariana is a junior at St. Anselm College, while Sydney is a freshman attending Coastal Carolina University.
Following the 2018 season, Bridgewater State will begin a search for a new head coach for baseball with the expectation to have an announcement on a new head coach sometime this summer.