Aaron Smith enters his 12th season at Belmont and his second as associate head coach. Smith's main duties entail working with the infielders, hitters, coaching third base and heading up the recruitment of student-athletes. In addition, Smith assists with the camp instruction and the administration of the Belmont Fall Instructional League.
In his first 11 years at Belmont, Smith has coached 29 First and Second Team All-Conference players, including two Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament MVPs. In all, 21 former Belmont players have gone on to play professional baseball since Smith arrived in Nashville.
Smith helped Belmont's 2020 defense become one of the best in the OVC, leading the conference in putouts with 471 and tied for second in fielding percentage with a .970 mark. Offensively, Smith helped the Bruins reach the top half of the OVC in 14 offensive statistical categories while finishing the season receiving votes in the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Top 30 poll.
Not only did the 2020 Bruins rank 17th in NCAA Baseball in win-loss percentage with an .824 mark, Smith assisted Logan Jarvis to a top 15 finish in doubles and Jackson Campbell reach the top 20 in home runs in NCAA Baseball.
Smith played a key role in Belmont’s defense in 2019, helping the Bruins finish second in the OVC in fielding percentage with a .973 mark. Belmont’s defense also led the OVC in fielding double plays with 47 and gave up the least amount of home runs in the conference.
Under Smith’s guidance, outfielder Matt Cogen finished in the top 10 in batting average (.372), hits (89), slugging percentage (.586) and total bases (140) to earn All-OVC First Team honors. Cogen was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2018, marking the sixth straight season where a Belmont position player was selected in the MLB Draft.
Smith assisted Dylan King to All-OVC First Team honors in 2017, helping him become the highest drafted player for Belmont since 2015. The Los Angeles Angels drafted King in the 18th round in the 2018 MLB Draft.
In 2017, Smith coached designated hitter Nick Egli to All-Conference and All-America honors. Egli boasted a hitting percentage of .353 with 36 walks and 18 home runs in 2017. Smith also coached Tyler Walsh to a batting average of .249 with four home runs and 22 stolen bases. His performance earned an MLB Draft selection in the 33rd round to the Los Angeles Angels.
In 2016, Smith was a vital member of the coaching staff, helping the Bruins to a successful 2016 campaign. Belmont concluded the season ranking in the top 10 in five offensive categories - home runs (6), on base percentage (9), slugging percentage (10), stolen bases (5) and walks (8) - throughout all Division I institutions. Under the guidance of Smith, many players boasted impressive seasons including Brennan Washington and Clay Payne, who collected All-OVC Second Team accolades.
Smith also played a hand in sculpting successful campaigns for rookies, Chas Hadden and Hunter Holland, who earned a spot on the OVC All-Newcomer roster. Hadden was also named to the Freshman All-America list for his outstanding play, hitting .370 with over 61 walks in 2016. Smith also helped Tyler Walsh post a batting average of .273 with nine home runs and 21 stolen bases to earn him a MLB Draft selection in the 39th round to the Texas Rangers. The one area that Smith was most proud of was the Bruins defensive improvement as they were able to increase their fielding percentage by 10 points and cut 21 errors from the previous season.
In 2015, Smith helped guide one of the best statistical offenses in all of NCAA Division I baseball. The Bruins were in the NCAA Top 10 in four categories: runs scored, doubles, slugging percentage, and home runs. The Bruins were paced at the plate by four players that hit double-digit home runs Nick Egli, Tyler Fullerton, Matt Beaty and Drew Ferguson. For their efforts Beaty and Ferguson were tabbed as All-Americans. After producing lofty statistics at Belmont, both Beaty and Ferguson were selected in the 2015 MLB Draft. Beaty was selected in the 12th round by the Los Angeles Dodgers and Drew Ferguson was chosen in the 19th round by the Houston Astros. Beaty, Fullerton, Ferguson were selected to the ABCA/Rawlings All-Region team. Alec Diamond, a catcher and infielder, garnered national attention as he was named the 2015 NCAA Statistical Champion for Toughest to Strike Out. Diamond struck out just eight times in 226 at bats.
In 2014, the Bruins saw catcher Jamie Ritchie advanced to the next level as he was selected in the 13th round by the Houston Astros. Also, Drew Ferguson was selected to the ABCA All-South team. Ferguson was just the second Bruin ever to collect this honor along with Nate Woods in 2010.
Belmont’s first season in the Ohio Valley Conference, 2013, the Bruins set a school record with 37 regular season wins. During the inaugural year, the Bruins led the OVC in walks, hit by pitches, and were second in fielding percentage. Josh Davis was selected as a First Team All-OVC utility player after hitting .293 and recording 12 saves as the Bruins closer. He was also a finalist for the John Olerud Two-Way Player award which goes to the best two-way player in the country. Drew Turner was selected to the All-OVC Second Team after hitting .318 and stealing 12 bases. After the successful season shortstop Jared Breen was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the 24th round.
From 2009-2012 coach Smith served as a volunteer assistant at Belmont. During this time he worked with the outfielders and coached first base. He also was instrumental in the coordination of the base running scheme that has been a staple of the Bruin program.
Before coming to Belmont, Smith assisted at Trevecca Nazarene University for three years working with the outfielders, catchers and hitters. While at Trevecca the team compiled two NAIA regional appearances, two TranSouth conference championships, five NAIA All-Americans and four players that signed professional contracts. During that span the Trojans averaged over 38 wins a season.
Prior to Trevecca, Smith coached one year Motlow State Community College and spent two years at Riverdale High School. In his one season at Motlow, the Bucks finished third in the TJCCAA regular season and made it to the state tournament semifinals. Also during that season, he coached first round draft pick Bryan Morris, who was selected 26th overall by the Los Angeles Dodgers. At Riverdale High School, Smith served as an assistant coach of outfielders and hitters, and the head coach of the freshman team. In 2005 Riverdale earned a berth in the AAA State Tournament with a record of 30-12.
Smith, who is a member of the ABCA and TBCA, staffing a plethora of camps around the southeast that include host schools such as Vanderbilt University, University of Tennessee, Middle Tennessee State University and several high schools.
In 2016, Smith's presentation on outfield play was featured at the Tennessee Baseball Coaches Association clinic. Smith presented alongside many well-respected coaches at the event.
Smith played at Motlow State Community College. In his sophomore season, he hit .380 and finished in the top 10 in batting average in the TJCCAA. Smith's career ended prematurely due to two shoulder surgeries.
Aaron and his wife, Lindsey, reside in Murfreesboro, Tenn. They have three children: Garon, Corbin, and Lyla.