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Pierce Named South Central Region Coach of Year
Ninth-year head baseball coach Bobby Pierce has been named American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) South Central Region Coach of the Year, as announced this week.
The 2011 Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year earns Region Coach of the Year honors for the first time, after leading his team to the regular season conference title.
TROY (43-19), which finished the season receiving votes in the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) poll, won the regular season conference title and went 2-1 in pool play in the conference tournament. The Trojans were awarded an appearance in the Nashville Regional where they upset Oklahoma State in the opening contest.
The Trojans also boast the 2011 Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year in Adam Bryant, and Sun Belt Conference Pitcher of the Year in Tyler Ray.
With his region honor, Pierce now becomes eligible for the National Coach of the Year against other region winners; which will be announced later this month.
Henry Picks Up Troy's First Gold Glove Award
Troy University senior third baseman Brett Henry was one of just nine players in Division I Baseball to be honored as a Gold Glove Award Winner by Rawlings and the American Baseball Coaches Association.
The award, which is in its third year, goes to the player recognized by coaches across the country as the best defensive player at his position in the nation.
"This is something that Brett is certainly very deserving of," Trojans head coach Bobby Pierce said. "He had that kind of year, based on his play at third base. He played the position this year as well as any player I have ever had in my coaching career. I am very happy for Brett."
Henry, who has already received his undergraduate degree in accounting and is working toward an MBA, posted a .976 fielding percentage while leading the Trojans with 128 assists. He was charged with just four errors in 166 defensive chances and was on the front end of nine double plays.
His efforts helped Troy to rank 47th among the 288 Division I teams in fielding percentage this year. The Trojans posted a .970 fielding percentage this year.
Henry was stunned by the news of the award.
"I am speechless, I truly am," Henry said. "What a great way to cap off my career here at Troy."
In addition to his play at third base, Henry finished his senior season with a .313 batting average, seven home runs and 42 runs batted in. In his four-year career at Troy the Mobile native posted a .303 batting average in 157 games played and had a .952 career fielding percentage.
Rawlings has been the longtime sponsor of the ABCA/Rawlings All-Region and All-American teams. The ABCA All-American Committees select the Rawlings Gold Glove Award winners in their respective divisions. Every college and high school coach in the country has the opportunity to participate through his respective regional chair.
Nine players from each division (NCAA I, II and III, NAIA, and Junior College I, II and III) are announced at the respective site of each division's national championship. The high school division awards are announced in Omaha during the Division I College World Series. Each winner receives the Rawlings Gold Glove Award similar to the MLB award. Each recipient's school also receives the award for permanent display.
Head Coach: Troy University
In his 9th season at the helm of the Trojans, Coach Pierce guided a young, rebuilding squad to a Sun Belt Championship and a 43-19 record in 2011 while also leading the Trojans to their 3rd Regional appearance in 6 years. Coach Pierce was named the 2011 Sun Belt Coach of The Year.In 2007 he led Troy to its second consecutive NCAA regional appearance after a 2nd place finish in the Sun Belt Conference on the heels of a regular season and SBC tournament championship with a 47-16 mark in their first season in the Sun Belt in 2006. With an Atlantic Sun Conference title in 2005 as well, the consecutive conference championships were a first for Troy since becoming a Division I school in 1994. He was also named the Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year in 2006, to complement his 2005 Atlantic Sun Coach of the Year award.
Coach Pierce began his coaching career in his hometown of Marianna, Florida at Chipola Junior College at the age of 23. He still owns the distinction of being the youngest coach (age 23) in Florida Junior College history to win a state championship (1983). He posted 259 wins in 7 seasons at Chipola and then returned to the University of Alabama as the top assistant coach for five seasons. Coach Pierce left his alma mater to begin from scratch the baseball program at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. The first UAH team in 1996 posted 37 wins and won a Division championship. He concluded his career in Huntsville with 276 wins in 7 seasons, an average of over 39 wins per season. A highly respected teacher and motivator, Coach Pierce has coached over 100 players who have played professionally, including 2 from the 2011 Trojan squad.
- Career record: 860-409 (.678), 10th Year at TROY University
- 2011 Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year
- 2006 Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year
- 2005 Atlantic Sun Conference Coach of the Year
- 2005 Alabama Baseball Coaches Association Division I Coach of the Year
Assistant Coach: Troy University
Former Trojan Mark Smartt 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 University in 2005, he was named the Alabama Baseball Coaches Association Assistant Coach of the Year. He was the first-ever recipient of the award. Coach Smartt is the recruiting coordinator for the Trojans while also coaching third base and working with the hitters and infielders.
Smartt, a second baseman for legendary 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.
In 1995, Smartt was elevated to the head coaching position and compiled a 165-163 record in six seasons. During his tenure, his teams broke or tied 38 school records while producing two All-America, seven All-Region and 10 All-GSC selections. Under his leadership, UWA also finished in the top five in national attendance in five of his six seasons, including setting a single-game home crowd record of 2,019 in his last season.
Smartt was appointed a member of the ABCA Division II All-American Committee from 1998-2000, serving as the chairman the last two years. He also was a member of the Division II National Poll Committee from 1995-98.
Immediately prior to returning to Troy, Smartt spent two years as park manager with the parks and recreation department in Moody, Alabama.
Assistant Coach: Troy University
Troy University head baseball coach Bobby Pierce did not waste any time in selecting a new pitching coach, nor did he have to look very far.
Former Charles Henderson High School head coach, and Troy University graduate, Brad Phillips became the Trojans' new pitching coach in August 2010. Phillips is no stranger to the Troy baseball program, having served as a volunteer assistant under Pierce during the 2003-04 seasons.
Phillips, a native of Hazel Green, Ala., in Madison County, played collegiately at Gadsden State Community College and the University of Montevallo before completing his degree at Troy in 2004. He took over the program at CHHS that same year and led the team to four consecutive AHSAA playoff appearances.
During his time at Charles Henderson he posted a record of 114-59 and was named the Class 5A Region 2 Coach of the Year four times. He was named the Dothan Eagle Super 12 Coach of the Year in 2008.
Phillips took over the program at Niceville, Fla., High School for the 2009 season and took his team there to consecutive state playoff appearances while posting a combined record of 43-16. He was named the 2009 Northwest Florida Daily News Coach of the Year.