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Tom Smith takes on Bulldog Baseball

By Mike Gore

Elle JohnstonThe UNC Asheville baseball program is in the hands of a Hall of Fame coach.

First-year coach Tom Smith may be a rookie when it comes to being a head collegiate coach, but he’s had plenty of experience and success, too. Smith enjoyed a legendary high school coaching career at nearby T.C. Roberson. He coached the Rams program for 28 years and led the school to three 3-A state titles. The Rams won 14 conference titles during his tenure and had 20 players drafted to the major leagues.

Earlier this year, his impressive career at T.C. Roberson was immortalized with a spot in the North Carolina Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame. The Association is made up of amateur baseball coaches throughout the state.

Smith wrapped up his career at T.C. Roberson in 2006 and joined the UNC Asheville staff in 2008 as a volunteer assistant. A year later, he served as a part-time assistant coach. When the Bulldog coaching job opened up after the 2009 season, Smith was hired as the eighth head coach in the history of the program.

Smith has worked hard in his first year as Bulldog head coach to guide his student-athletes on the field and encourage them in the classroom. His team picked up an impressive early-season victory over the College of Charleston and there’s no doubt the Asheville program is going in the right direction.

“No one is having more fun than I am. We’ve got a good bunch of guys who are working hard and getting better each day,” said Smith. “It is very exciting to be a part of a school that is so good academically and has an Athletics Department with so many outstanding coaches. We’ve got some work to do with our program, but I’m confident that we’re going to be competing for championships in the near future.”

And a Hall of Fame coach wouldn’t have it any other way.

✮ Hall of Fame inductees: The UNC Asheville Athletics Department inducted three former student-athletes and a renowned coach into its Hall of Fame in February. Former women’s basketball coach Helen Carroll, men’s basketball player Josh Pittman ’98, baseball player Marc Rosenbalm ’92 and volleyball player Lorelee Smith ’98 were honored during Homecoming weekend. ✮ Big South Hall of Fame: UNC Asheville Hall of Famer Josh Pittman ’98 was also one of six people who was inducted into the Big South Hall of Fame in June. The former Bulldog basketball standout is now playing for Halcones UV Cordóba in Mexico.

✮ Coach Eddie Biedenbach Has Record-Breaking Year: Veteran men’s head basketball coach Eddie Biedenbach recently set two Big South Conference records: most career wins in regular- season conference play at 117 and most overall victories at 196.

For the latest news, rosters and schedules for all 14 UNC Asheville Division I teams, visit uncabulldogs.com

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