Smith surpasses 100 wins, keeps team first

Katie Tolbert

After 16 years of collegiate assistant coaching experience, third-year head coach Annie Smith is making records of her own along with the Georgia Southern University’s softball team.

“I think it is a privilege to just coach. It’s a great profession, and I’m fortunate to have the athletes that I have. They’re good people as well as good players,” Smith said. “Coaches are only as good as their athletes. I don’t really care much about numbers; it’s not about me, it’s about the team. So, I’m more worried about them and what they’re doing.”

Although Smith said the numbers aren’t important to her, some records she has accomplished need to be recognized. This season Smith hit a milestone in her career, reaching 100 wins and counting within 161 games. That put her in the GSU record book as the fastest coach to ever win 100 games at the university. Also, she has coached this team to two back-to-back Southern Conference championships, with a promising chance at a third.

This GSU team only has three losses in conference play, but that number can be scary for the Eagles. The next two best teams in the SoCon are series they haven’t tackled yet, and they have a strong schedule the week beforehand. But, Smith sees all of this positively and knows it will do nothing but benefit her team.

“We will face solid pitching with North Carolina and Alabama, and South Carolina we are facing solid pitching, facing good teams, facing fast teams. So, it will make us better as we prepare for the rest of the SoCon,” Smith said. “The top two teams in the SoCon are left, so that will be a challenge. But, every time you face good pitching like that it makes you better.”

With Smith’s experience as assistant coach at Mississippi State University prior to coming to GSU, she is well aware of how Southeastern Conference softball is played and is used to competition from other strong programs, like the Atlantic Coast Conference.

“You have to take one game at a time. We have tough games against North Carolina and Alabama coming up next weekend, so I don’t know if it’s as much of recovering as it is learning from the mistakes we made and build on that to move forward,” Smith said.

This weekend will test that coaching ability as the Eagles travel for games against University of Alabama and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill this weekend.