Beverly Smith Hired as South Carolina Head Softball Coach
July 15, 2010
COLUMBIA, S.C. - Beverly Smith has accepted the head softball coaching position at the University of South Carolina, athletics director Eric Hyman announced on Thursday. Smith becomes the 10th coach in the 38-year history of Gamecock softball.
"I am honored to join the University of South Carolina and its athletics department," said Smith. "The softball program at South Carolina is rich in tradition. I am excited for the opportunity to lead such a historic softball program and reestablish the winning tradition."
"We are thrilled to announce that Beverly Smith will be leading the softball program at the University of South Carolina," Hyman said. "Her accomplishments as a student-athlete, coach and recruiter have gained her tremendous respect throughout the softball community, and we look forward to all that she and her staff will bring to our department. Her experience and solid reputation are just what our program needs as we continue on the journey that Joyce Compton began. We appreciate Joyce's years of service and success in putting Gamecock softball on the national map and look forward to Beverly expanding that legacy."
Smith comes to Columbia after a successful tenure as first an assistant coach, then associate head coach for the University of North Carolina softball program. Spending 12 years combined on staff as the lead recruiter, Smith helped the Tar Heels to eight of their nine NCAA Tournament appearances and to two Atlantic Coast Conference titles (2001 and 2008). Smith tutored the Tar Heel pitchers and catchers, including Danielle Spaulding, who just finished her career at North Carolina as the program's third first-team All-American. Five of Smith's pitchers earned All-ACC accolades 10 times during her tenure, while she also helped UNC achieve a top-25 ranking in the USA Today/National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Coaches Poll at least once per season since 2006.
During Smith's tenure in Chapel Hill, the Tar Heel pitchers were outstanding. The 2010 squad finished 16th in NCAA Division I with a 1.92 ERA while the program ranked in the top 10 in the nation in three of the previous four seasons. Spaulding was her star pupil, earning All-America accolades three times from Louisville Slugger and the NFCA. During the past three seasons, Spaulding finished in the nation's top six in strikeouts per seven innings each year while twice earning ACC Player of the Year accolades. Last season, Spaulding was the toughest pitcher in the country to hit against, as she yielded just 2.61 hits per seven innings. In 2009, Spaulding led the country with 14.3 strikeouts per seven innings. Crystal Cox also earned All-America honors under Smith's guidance, making the third team in 2006 after claiming ACC Rookie of the Year honors in 2003.
Working with the other half of the battery, Smith had three catchers take home All-ACC honors. Ally Blake and Brittany McKinney claimed spots in the last two seasons, while Natalie Anter made the list four times from 1999-2002. Anter also played in the 2004 Athens Olympics with the Italian national team.
"I congratulate Beverly on her new position as the head coach at the University of South Carolina," said North Carolina head coach Donna Papa. "She distinguished herself at the University of North Carolina as an outstanding player, coach and representative. It is hard to put into words the impact she has had on this program over the last 12 years as my assistant. Over a 20-year span, I have had the opportunity to coach and work with her. During this time, we have enjoyed a great working relationship and friendship. I appreciate what she has done at UNC. She is very deserving of this position and has always represented this university with class and integrity. While I will miss her, she is very deserving of this position and is ready to take on the challenge of being a head coach."
Smith compiled three different tenures in Tar Heel blue, starting as a player from 1991-94. She was the first North Carolina softball player to win ACC Player of the Year honors (1994), and her name dots the Tar Heel top-10 lists to this day in both the hitting and pitching categories. In 2002, she was selected as one of the top 50 players in ACC softball history.
Born in Asheboro, N.C., and raised in Houston, Texas, Smith spent two years at the University of Houston, starting in the academic office before working as the athletics department's marketing coordinator. She played and served as an assistant coach for the Tampa Bay FireStix of the Women's Pro Softball League in 1997. During this time, she also coached Episcopal High School in Bellaire, Texas, to three state titles and a state runner-up spot (1995-98).
In addition to her coaching, Smith has been a speaker/clinician at many camps and conventions, including at the NFCA Convention this year. She graduated from North Carolina in 1994 with a double major in speech communications and political science.