RICHMOND, Va. (July 2, 2012) -- Baylor baseball head coach Steve Smith was named one of seven finalists for the 2012 CollegeBaseballInsider.com National Coach of the Year on Monday.
Smith, who was previously named Big 12 Conference Coach of the Year, is the only Big 12 representative on the list. Andy Lopez (Arizona), Mike Martin (Florida State), Doug Schreiber (Purdue), Matt Senk (Stony Brook), Scott Stricklin (Kent State) and Ray Tanner (South Carolina) are the other finalists. The winner of the 10th-annual CBI National Coach of the Year will be announced Thursday.
Smith guided Baylor to a 49-17 record and a Waco Regional championship. The Bears were picked to finish fourth in the Big 12 preseason poll, but Baylor started conference play 18-0 and clinched the league title before suffering its first conference loss on May 12. BU finished Big 12 play with a 20-4 record, which was the second-best winning percentage by any team in league history.
Baylor also won its first regional since 2005 and came up one win shy of the school record and its fourth trip to the College World Series. The Bears played in their 13th NCAA Tournament since 1998, making them one of 14 programs nationally with at least 13 appearances in the last 15 seasons.
Baylor finished the season ranked No. 9 or No. 10 in all four major national polls. BU finished ninth in the NCBWA and USATODAY/ESPN Coaches Polls, and the Bears were 10th in the Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball Newspaper polls. This season was the third time in the Smith era the Bears finished ranked in the top 10 nationally (No. 8/9 in 1999 and No. 4 in 2005).
The Bears had four All-Americans, 11 All-Big 12 honorees, 10 Academic All-Big 12 selections, six Major League Baseball draft picks, and the Big 12 Player, Newcomer and Coach of the Year.
Smith has earned Big 12 Coach of the Year honors from at least one publication in five different seasons, but no coach in program history has ever won a National Coach of the Year award.