After serving as an assistant for 13 seasons, Mark Smartt was officially named the head coach for the Troy University baseball team on June 2, 2015.
The former Trojan returned to his alma mater in July of 2002, accepting an assistant coaching position under head coach Bobby Pierce.
Following his third season at Troy in 2005, Smartt received the first-ever Alabama Baseball Coaches Association Assistant Coach of the Year Award.
During Smartt's tenure at Troy, the Trojans have won four conference championships, appeared in four NCAA Regionals, had 14 players earn All-America honors and seen 27 players sign professional contracts.
Troy finished the 2011 season second in the NCAA in doubles with 149 and 19th with a .976 fielding percentage. The 2010 Trojans were ninth nationally in home runs per game and 14th in fielding percentage, while the 2008 squad finished fifth in the NCAA with a .976 fielding percentage.
Smartt, a second baseman for legendary Troy coach Chase Riddle, helped lead the Trojans to the 1986 and 1987 NCAA Division II national championships. He was the second-leading hitter (.405) on the '86 championship team, which is the sixth highest single-season average in school history. He ended his career with a .379 batting average, the third-highest career average in school annals. He also ended his career with a stellar .954 fielding percentage.
During his two-year Trojan career, Smartt was named to the All-GSC team in 1986 and 1987 and earned second team all-region honors in 1987. He was also named to the College World Series All-Tournament team in 1987 after hitting .333 while not committing an error in 24 chances. His successful playing career was punctuated by his induction into the Troy University Baseball Hall of Fame in 2002.
Following two years as an assistant coach under Riddle, Smartt spent 11 seasons as a coach at the University of West Alabama, serving as the head coach from 1995-2000. He arrived in Livingston as the school's first full-time assistant coach in 1990 under then head coach Mark Hogan. His recruiting efforts helped produce a 1992 Division II College World Series appearance after capturing the Gulf South Conference and South Central Regional Championships along the way. The Tigers captured a GSC West Division Championship in 1994, his last season as an assistant.
Brad Phillips enters his sixth season as the pitching coach. Under his guidance, two Troy pitchers have been named Sun Belt Conference Pitcher of the Year. In 2013 Shane McCain took the honor with a 9-1 record and 3.48 ERA. In 2011, Tyler Ray ran away with the award after posting a 12-0 record and 2.39 ERA. He has also seen Marc Skinner, a relief pitcher, named 2014 Sun Belt Freshman of the Year for his 1.52 ERA and a 6-1 record.
In 2013, Phillips tutored reliever Nate Hill, who finished ranked fifth in the country with 11.14 strikeouts per nine innings. As a staff, Troy was fifth in the nation in strikeouts per nine innings with 8.6.
Under Phillips in 2012, Hill set a Troy then-school record for appearances with 35 (Thomas Austin's 32 appearances that season would have also set a record). Hill would again set the record for appearances with 37 in 2013.
Shane Gierke enters his first season as assistant coach for the Troy baseball program. For eight years, Gierke served as the recruiting coordinator for the University of West Florida and has overseen catcher development and hitting instruction. Gierke worked two seasons as an assistant under former head coach Jim Spooner starting in 2004, and he coached his 10th year as assistant head coach under Mike Jeffcoat in 2015.
Since Gierke took over as hitting coach at UWF, the team enjoyed some of its best offensive seasons in school history. In 2011, the Argonauts won the NCAA Division II national championship and set school records in runs (449), hits (638) and walks (267). As a team, UWF batted .326 and averaged 7.4 runs per game, led by All-Americans Greg Pron and Brandon Brewer.
The Argonauts also hit .306 in 2009 and .315 in 2010, two of the top offensive seasons in school history. In eight seasons with Gierke as hitting coach, the team has batted at least .290 every year except one, produced 36 All-GSC position players and advanced to the NCAA Tournament five times.
Volunteer Assistant Coach
Blake Beck begins his first season as volunteer assistant coach for the Troy baseball program. Beck was hired on January 7, 2016.
Beck returns to Troy after serving two years as the video coordinator at Mississippi State, where he completed all of the player analysis and assisted pitching coach Butch Thompson, who is now the head coach at Auburn, with the day-to-day operations of the Bulldog program. Additionally, Beck aided with on-campus recruiting as well as baseball camp operations and instruction.
"I am very pleased that Blake is returning to Troy," Smartt said. "He is highly competitive and extremely passionate about the game of baseball. His previous experience with our program allows him to understand our championship expectations. Blake displays the type of characteristics required to be a great baseball coach, and he will make an immediate impact on our players and the overall program."
Director of Baseball Operations
ohn Rushing begins his third season as the Trojans director of operations. Rushing joined the Troy staff from Tuscaloosa Academy, where he served as baseball head coach and athletic director since 2006.
During his time at Tuscaloosa Academy, Rushing's squads won the area championship twice and advanced to the AISA playoffs five times. Rushing was an assistant coach at Bevill State Community College from 2001-04. During his tenure, Bevill State won a pair of ACCC State Championships in 2001 and 2003.
From 2000 to the summer of 2011, Rushing was the head coach of Tuscaloosa Post 34's Senior American Legion Team. During his tenure, Rushing led Post 34 to the American Legion State Championship Game nine out of his 12 seasons. Post 34 won the state championship in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010.