The 2021 season will be the first in a new era in Ohio baseball.
Rob Smith, Ohio’s coach for the last eight seasons, announced his retirement Thursday on Twitter. Over his eight seasons at the helm, Smith’s highlights included two Mid-American Conference Tournament championships (2015 & 2017), two NCAA Tournament appearances and overseeing the development of three MAC Players of the Year.
Replacing Smith with be Craig Moore, who was named interim head coach Thursday. Moore has served as an assistant to Smith for the last eight seasons. The Bobcats were 3-12 prior to the season being canceled due to the pandemic. It’ll be on Moore to help the Bobcats improve.
But aside from the tough times, there were plenty of great moments that came out of Smith’s tenure as head coach. Players like Rudy Rott, Mitch Longo and Logan Cozart made Bob Wren Stadium the place to be. Before Smith arrived, Ohio hadn’t won a MAC title since 1997 and hadn’t been to the NCAA tournament since 1971. Smith changed that in just his third season.
"In coaching the relationships and interactions with players is what drives most coaches, myself included,” Smith said in a statement. "It takes effort, hard work and commitment to win two MAC championships. It's a difficult thing to do and it's not done without the effort of the players. I have been lucky to work with some tremendous student-athletes and I look forward to continuing those relationships. I am indebted to them."
Correction appended: A previous version of this article contained a photo with Craig Moore, Ohio’s new interim coach, rather than Rob Smith. The photo has been updated.