Wednesday, 10 July 2019 22:02

App State's Smith Signs Contract Extension

Kermit Smith has been with the Mountaineers since 2016 Kermit Smith has been with the Mountaineers since 2016 Appalachian State Athletics

Appalachian State University baseball head coach Kermit Smith has signed a contract extension that runs through the 2023 season, Director of Athletics Doug Gillin announced Wednesday. The extension was approved by Appalachian State Chancellor Sheri Everts and the Appalachian State Board of Trustees.

In 2019, Smith completed his third season as head coach of the Mountaineers, who set a program record with 13 victories in Sun Belt Conference play and won 22 games overall despite having three in-state nonconference road or neutral site games canceled.

App State started 11-9 in league play and was a half-game out of first place in the Sun Belt's East Division before finishing 13-16 and earning its first Sun Belt Championship tournament appearance.

"I can still remember doing our team photoshoot my first year in the spring of 2017 — it was the first time that I had the honor of putting the Appalachian State University baseball uniform on," Smith said. "I can remember the sincere sense of pride that I felt wearing that 'A' for the first time. I can honestly say that I haven't taken that for granted for one day that I've had the opportunity to represent this University and athletic department.

"I am extremely thankful to Chancellor Sheri Everts and Doug Gillin for the opportunity to lead this program for another four years. Rebecca and I absolutely love calling Boone home and raising our family in the High Country. My staff and I will continue to work diligently to recruit and develop student-athletes that will perform at a high level on the field, in the classroom and in the community."

The Mountaineers have played 89 conference games since Smith arrived in Boone, and they've gone 21-23 in the second half of his tenure after totaling nine wins in the first 45 league games. There are 31 conferences in Division I baseball, and the Sun Belt has been a top-10 league in each of Smith's three seasons, ranking as high as No. 8 in 2018.

"We are pleased to have Kermit continue to lead our baseball program," Gillin said. "There has been steady progress under his leadership, including the team's first tournament appearance in one of the nation's top baseball conferences last season. In the community and the classroom, Kermit and his staff are bringing in quality student-athletes. We have high expectations for our baseball program, and the future is bright at Appalachian."

With 32 of the 36 players on App State's 2019 roster entering their first or second years in the program, the team posted a road win against eventual NCAA Regional No. 2 seed FAU, a three-game home sweep of then-first-place UTA, a 2-0 home weekend against ULM and a road series victory against Louisiana. Appalachian clinched its first conference tournament berth since 2014 with an 18-6 road win at Coastal Carolina, which received the league's automatic NCAA bid.

Second baseman Luke Drumheller was named a Freshman All-American, relief pitcher Kaleb Bowman ended the season as the official Sun Belt ERA champion and the Mountaineers finished a season with a trio of .305 hitters for the first time since 2013.

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