Posted: Mar 21, 2013 1:45 PM
Updated: Mar 21, 2013 3:27 PM
FAYETTE, MO -- After 25 years coaching baseball, Fred Smith figured the only way he would walk away from the gig was to pick a specific time and announce it publicly. So that's what he did Thursday, as Smith revealed his plans to retire as the leader of the Central Methodist baseball team at the end of the 2013 season to take a principal job at nearby Boonville Middle School. Smith will continue at Central Methodist until May 31.
"This day has mixed emotions," Smith commented. "I want to thank (President) Dr. (Marianne) Inman and (Vice President and Athletic Director) Ken Oliver for the opportunity to work at Central Methodist. I have enjoyed working with many great people. I want only the best for all our programs, and I am extremely proud of the direction the baseball program has taken in the last six years. Take Flight!"
Smith, a 1984 NAIA All-American and Central Methodist alumnus, has been at the helm of the Eagle baseball program for six seasons and has transformed the Green and Black into a contender in the Heart of America Athletic Conference. Smith's 2012 team went 25-22-1 and advanced to the HAAC Tournament championship game. This season, Central Methodist stands in first place in the Eastern Division of the conference.
"We want to thank Coach Smith for turning around our baseball program from top to bottom and having success in the classroom, community and on the field," Oliver said. "We owe him many thanks for what he has done for CMU. We are glad he will remain in the area and know he will continue to be a great supporter of the university."
Smith is also in his first year as an Assistant Athletic Director at Central Methodist and has been in charge of the NAIA Champions of Character program. The 2012 Central Methodist squad was named the NAIA Buffalo Fuels Five Star Champions of Character Baseball Team of the Year, and Smith was named HAAC's Champions of Character Coach of the Year.
This season, Smith and members of the Eagle baseball team participated in the 16th Annual Boonslick Area Community Service Project to build a soccer support facility to replace the press box which burned at the Kemper Park soccer field in 2011. The project was collaboration between Nelson Memorial United Methodist Men, the National Organization of Prison Fellowship and Central Methodist University baseball team.
In 2009, the baseball team was recognized for its outstanding contributions to Central Methodist and the surrounding communities by being named the university's Team Champions of Character.
Smith was selected as Central Methodist's Champions of Character Coach of the Year in 2008.
"Not only is Coach Smith a great coach, teacher, and person, but he is a lifelong friend of mine and I wish him and his wife Gayla the very best in their next chapter in their life," Oliver commented, adding, "Until then, we will cheer him and the CMU Baseball on to victories over the next three months and hope to hold the HAAC trophy up at the end of the season."
Oliver said that Central Methodist is expected to name Smith's replacement before the end of the season.