NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Former Notre Dame infielder Eddie Smith ('06), who recently coached at both Santa Clara University and the University of Virginia, has returned to his alma mater as the volunteer baseball coach, head coach Mik Aoki announced today. Smith will work primarily with the Irish outfielders.
"I know everyone says it, but I really could not be more excited to return to Notre Dame," said Smith. "I was so lucky to be a part of this program and University as a student-athlete, and, now, I'm literally overwhelmed to rejoin the Notre Dame family as a coach. I can't thank Mik (Aoki) enough for this opportunity and look forward to being a part of the staff that brings Notre Dame back to the NCAA regionals."
"We are extremely fortunate to have Eddie on our staff," said Aoki. "As a former Notre Dame player, Eddie offers incredible experience and insight to our players about the type of commitment, attitude and work ethic necessary to win at the highest level of college baseball. He has been part of extremely successful programs as both a player and coach. Eddie has participated in five NCAA tournaments, including a pair of trips to Omaha. Our players will make immediate and drastic improvements under his tutelage."
Smith comes to Notre Dame after one year at Santa Clara, where the Broncos won 26 games - nine more than 2011. Smith led the day-to-day development of position players and played a large role in the recruiting efforts for the program. Smith played an instrumental role in the development of Broncos' outfielders Lucas Herbst and Pat Stover - both of whom were selected in the 2012 MLB draft.
Herbst, who was picked in the 26th round by the Baltimore Orioles, hit .356 with two home runs, four triples, seven doubles and 25 RBI last spring. He also swiped six bases and scored 29 runs. Herbst finished his Santa Clara career with a .301 batting average, 26 stolen bases and seven home runs. He also added 10 career triples, 14 doubles, 71 RBI and 103 runs scored.
A first-team all-West Coast Conference selection in 2012, Stover hit .297 on the season and either led or tied for the team lead in home runs (five), at-bats (202), hits (60), runs scored (33), RBI (37), total bases (85), doubles (10) and stolen bases (14).
In Smith's only season at Santa Clara, the Bronco offense exploded to lead the conference in stolen bases and finished second in home runs, hitting more than twice as many round trippers than 2010. Santa Clara also captured the conference title for fielding percentage and Bronco infielders committed just 27 errors the entire season.
Smith arrived at Santa Clara after spending five seasons (2007-11) in two different roles at Virginia under former Notre Dame pitching coach Brian O'Connor. He served as the Cavaliers' director of operations in 2007 and 2008 before moving into an assistant coach role in 2009. Smith was part of the greatest era in the history of the program.
Virginia reached the College World Series in both 2009 and 2011, captured ACC Championships in all three seasons and averaged 52 wins per year - more than any other program in the country over that span. In addition, the Cavaliers took the field as the No. 1 team in the country in 45 percent of its games during his tenure.
In his tenure at Virginia, the Cavaliers reached the NCAA regionals every year and had 34 players selected in the MLB ¬- 17 in the top 10 rounds and a pair of first round picks.
Smith's collegiate playing career opened at Centralia Community College in Centralia, Wash., where he helped the Blazers set a school record for wins in 2004. He led the team in hitting and was named all-Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges.
Smith ultimately earned a spot as a walk-on infielder at Notre Dame in 2005. He helped the Irish win a pair of BIG EAST championships and earned two berths to the NCAA regionals. Smith graduated with a bachelor's degree in Spanish from Notre Dame in 2006.
Smith served as the head coach for the North Thurston High School Legion team in 2004 and was an assistant camp director at Notre Dame in 2006.
Smith was inducted into the Centralia College Hall of Fame in 2012.