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March 12, 2020

University of South Carolina Head Softball Coach, Beverly Smith, Pitches Helpful Advice

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Coach Beverly Smith is in her tenth year as the head coach of the softball team at the University of South Carolina.  In those ten years, Coach Smith has led the team to seven NCAA division one tournaments and emerging as the second-winningest coach in school history.

Coach Smith’s recruiting feats are nothing shy of amazing.  In 2015, South Carolina saw a First-team NFCA All-American Alaynie Page who would go on to sign with the infamous professional softball team the Chicago Bandits.  Additionally, Smith has coached 12 All-Region and eight All-SEC players and will continue to produce more.

She works in all aspects of the team but focuses more closely on the field with her pitchers.  Over her 10-year career, Smith has amassed a record of 278-196 and is only the second gamecock coach to have over 200 wins.  Over the course of the past seven years, Coach Smith has helped improve the team’s RPI in the NCAA from number 37 in 2013 to number nine in 2019.

Coach Smith played and served as an assistant coach for the Tampa Bay FireStix as part of the women’s pro softball league in 1997.  During this time, she also coached at Episcopal High School in Bellaire, Texas, to three state titles and a state runner-up spot from 1995-98.

Smith was the 1994 ACC Player of the Year for coach Donna Papa at the University of North Carolina.  Smith still ranks ninth in Tar Heel history in slugging percentage, second in triples, third in RBIs, fifth in shutouts and seventh in ERA.  She would go on to be honored as one of the top 50 softball players in ACC history during the league’s 50th Anniversary celebration in 2002.

LRT Sports: What advice can you give to high school athletes as far as them beginning their college search? What is the first thing they should do?

They need to create a list of schools that have what they are looking for.  Athletes make the mistake of putting all of their eggs in one basket. Athletes need to give themselves many choices.  This also involves athletic and academic talent. Do your homework first and foremost.

LRT Sports: How can an athlete get on your radar? What is the best way that should contact you?

Email is the best way to contact us, and it’s easiest for all athletes.  Once you have your list, attend their camp. That is probably the easiest way to get in front of me.

LRT Sports: Do you look at recruit’s social media? What is the biggest do and don’t as far as social media is concerned?

Absolutely. Once we see their talent and think they’re a good athlete, we scour their social media.  How they spend their time, weekends, things that they like, etc. Your retweets are your thoughts.  

LRT Sports: What three characteristics do you look for in a potential recruit?

Athleticism number one.  That is what it comes down to.  What is your role? Are you fast, a big hitter, a good pitcher, or a utility? In the SEC, you have to be talented.  Then it is, can you do it academically? Last, are you the right person? Can you make the right decisions?

LRT Sports: When looking at highlight footage, what should stand out? What do you look for, and how long should the footage be?

Less than 5 minutes.  I am looking for you to market exactly what you’re good at.  If you are a good pitcher, put that as the first thing in your video.  Every coach knows the top 1-5% in their sport. It is on the rest of the kids to market themselves and get themselves in front of coaches. 

LRT Sports: What are your expectations of your team players? What makes a great leader?

My expectations are that they leave the program better than they found it.  We are a team that is expected to work hard on and off the field. We do a lot of character assessments during recruiting. We make sure we choose the athletes that are willing to work hard and do what is asked of them.

LRT Sports: It’s not what any coach wants, but athletes do transfer. What advice do you give to the athletes when they want to transfer?

It is interesting because now you can enter the transfer portal.  IF I have a player leave, I just simply ask what I can do to help.  I normally would make phone calls, but now we have the portal, which makes everything else easier. 

LRT Sports: Do you encourage walk-ons? How often do you get walk-ons, if any?

Walk-ons are important for us.  Being an equivalency sport, we need walk-ons every year.  I am very specific, though about who is walking on. It still needs to be someone that adds value to the program.  It can’t be just anyone.

LRT Sports: The athletes that we have spoken to get nervous about getting injured because they are afraid they will be treated differently. How do you and your team handle an injured athlete?

That is definitely an issue because our job is to win ball games.  If you are injured in the process, it is something we definitely have to consider.  If you sell me that you’re super-fast, you injure your leg, and now you’re not as fast it is something I have to think about.  We have an injured athlete group with a sports psychologist that helps them through the process.  

LRT Sports: As far as parents are concerned, how much do you think they should be involved in their child’s recruiting process? Do you want to hear from them, or would you prefer to work with the athlete alone?

I need to hear from both.  They should definitely be involved.  They need to listen to offers, see the schools, and be supportive of their kid.  At the end of the day, I am working with the athlete. Also, if I am going to offer a large sum of money to a kid for a scholarship, then their parents, of course, need to have a say in how that goes.

LRT Sports: Sometimes, athletes might think they should be competing, but they might not be up to your standards. Should the athletes confront you about not playing, or should they figure it out on their own?

This is all about communication.  If you have the correct relationship as a coach, you should be able to always communicate with your athletes.  Something we always talk about is how you are acting if you aren’t in the lineup. I think at the end of the day; it is being able to have an honest conversation with yourself and with us. 

LRT Sports: What is the funniest way an athlete has marketed themselves to you?

An athlete sent me an ore that has personalized messages, so now their name is definitely on my mind. It can be as extravagant as that or as simple as a consistent header.