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Following the most successful baseball season in over a decade, App State head coach Kermit Smith has signed a contract extension that runs through the 2027 season, Director of Athletics Doug Gillin announced Friday. The extension was approved by Chancellor Sheri Everts and the Appalachian State University Board of Trustees.
“We are excited about the future of App State Baseball under Kermit’s direction,” Gillin said. “The program made great strides this year, including single-game and season attendance records, wins over nationally ranked opponents and a run to the Sun Belt Tournament semifinals. We look forward to our student-athletes’ continued pursuit of excellence on the field, in the classroom and in the community.”
Smith and the Mountaineers completed a record-breaking season last month, in which they posted a program-best 16 Sun Belt Conference victories and three league tournament wins in one of the top-five baseball conferences in the country. They also recorded the program’s first 30-win season since 2013.
“The first time I met Chancellor Everts, she greeted me with, ‘Welcome Home.’ What an honest statement to represent, not only the campus, but also the community that we were moving to,” Smith said. “This is home for us and we are thrilled at the direction of our baseball program. The investment to make our program one of the best in the country has never been bigger. We are as close as we’ve been to being the program that we want to be.
“I’m very thankful to our Board of Trustees, Chancellor Everts and Doug Gillin for entrusting this program to me. Thank you to our student-athletes and our staff who are the reason that we do this. I’m honored to be your coach. Our fan base has made Jim and Bettie Smith Stadium one of the best game day environments in the Sun Belt. Lastly, I’d like to thank Jonathan Reeder whose leadership has helped our baseball program grow to new heights.”
Under Smith’s leadership in 2023, the Mountaineers came within two wins of their first NCAA tournament appearance since 2012. Led by first-team All-Sun Belt selections Xander Hamilton and CJ Boyd, the Mountaineers began by winning their first seven games of the year, standing as one of the final 13 undefeated teams in college baseball.
The Mountaineers achieved a multitude of team milestones, finishing in the top 10 in single-season program history with 459 strikeouts (1st), 67 home runs (4th), .971 fielding percentage (4th), 13 saves (5th), 410 runs scored (7th), 555 hits (9th), 73 stolen bases (9th) and 111 doubles (10th).
Along the way, the Mountaineers defeated a pair of nationally ranked opponents, one-hitting 8th-ranked Coastal Carolina 11-0 on May 5 and defeating 16th-ranked Southern Miss 4-2 in the Sun Belt Tournament on May 27.
On April 14 at Georgia Southern, Smith recorded his 600th career victory in a 10-7 win over the Eagles. Smith has won 141 games in a Black and Gold uniform, trailing only Jim Morris (611) and Chris Pollard (244) on the program’s wins list.
The Mountaineers finished the season 88th nationally in RPI, their best mark since 2013. The Sun Belt Conference as a whole ranked fifth in average RPI this season, with all 10 Sun Belt Tournament teams ranking among the top 100. The SEC and ACC were the only other conferences in the nation to earn that distinction. Seven of App State’s 2023 opponents qualified for an NCAA regional.
In the classroom, App State Baseball owns a cumulative GPA of 3.07, helping the athletics department to 22 consecutive semesters of at least a 3.0 GPA. In Smith’s seven seasons as head coach, all 50 seniors who have completed their eligibility in a Mountaineer uniform have earned an App State degree, with several student-athletes earning multiple degrees.