– Megan Smith, head coach of the Kansas softball program for the past nine years, was named to same position at Marshall Wednesday afternoon.
Smith, who sports a career record of 393-265, led the Jayhawks to six consecutive 30-win seasons and back-to-back appearances in the NCAA Tournament in 2014 and 2015. The 2015 campaign yielded the first 40-win season for the program in 23 years, the best start in school history for the second time in her tenure (12-0) and seven consecutive weeks in the top 25. Her 2013 team recorded the program's highest winning percentage (.680) in 21 years, broke the Big 12 record for batting average (.345), the highest mark in the NCAA that season. In 2012, Kansas had a 20-game win streak and, the year before, boasted an 11.5 game won-loss record improvement, the 16th-best turnaround in NCAA history. The 26-3 mark to open the 2011 season was also the best start in the program's history.
"I am extremely honored and excited to be a part of the Marshall family," said Smith. "There is such a strong history and tradition of success within the softball program and I am humbled to now be a part of that. I want to thank Mike Hamrick
for this incredible opportunity for me and my son Cooper. I am eager to get to know the players and to get started this fall!"
At Kansas, she coached one All-American, one academic All-American, 20 All-Big 12 selections, 20 NFCA (National Fastpitch Coaches Association) All-Region selections, 50 All-Big 12 Academic Team honorees, three Big 12 Scholar Athletes of the Year and three student-athletes taken in the NPF (National Pro Fastpitch) Draft. The program also set single-season fielding percentage (2014, .979-second-highest nationally) and home run records during her time as head coach (60, 2011).
Prior to her time in Lawrence, Smith was an assistant for LSU for three seasons, where she helped the Tigers in winning the 2007 SEC Tournament and the Stanford Regional in the NCAA Tournament en route to 55 wins. LSU finished the regular season ranked third in the ESPN/USA Today poll. The following season, the Tigers picked up 44 wins on their way to a #9 national seed in the NCAA Tournament. During her tenure, she mentored two All-Americans and five NFCA All-South Region honorees.
Smith started the softball program at Western Carolina and posted a 41-20 record in WCU's inaugural season, earning 2006 Southern Conference Coach of the Year honors, while leading the Catamounts to the league's regular season title. That season, five student-athletes garnered first-team all-league acclaim, with another on the second team and two more were tabbed on the NFCA Southeast All-Region second team. She also coached the conference's 2006 Pitcher of the Year and Freshman of the Year. WCU broke the league's single-season home run record (81) that year, part of an explosive offensive season for the program (third in the nation in home runs per game, 14th in slugging percentage, 19th in scoring).
She also had assistant coaching stops at her alma mater North Carolina (2004), where she helped the Tar Heels reach the NCAA Tournament, and at Charlotte in 2003.
Her first head coaching position came at Young Harris College in Georgia, where she put up a 79-41 record over two seasons.
"We are very much looking forward to Megan leading our softball program," said Marshall Director of Athletics Mike Hamrick
. "She is a proven winner and has a reputation for helping mold top-quality student-athletes. Our program is eager for her arrival in Huntington."
Smith, who is an NCAA Division I Softball Committee member, graduated from North Carolina in May 1999 with a Bachelor of Arts in Physical Education and Recreation Studies. She received her Master of Science in Human Performance and Sport Studies from Tennessee in August of 2000.
A Walkertown, N.C. native, Smith and the late Paul Buske have one son, Cooper.
What They're Saying about Megan Smith
Yvette Girouard, Former LSU Softball Head Coach and NFCA Hall of Fame Inductee
"Megan Smith will be a tireless worker for the Thundering Herd. She is the epitome of trying to do things the right way on and off the field for her student-athletes. A great recruiter who, no doubt, will bring talented softball players to Marshall, Megan is a great hire for the University."
Donna J. Papa, North Carolina Softball Head Coach and NFCA Hall of Fame Inductee
"Megan Smith is an outstanding hire to continue the tradition of Marshall University Softball. She will bring integrity and a strong work ethic to the program. Megan prides herself on preparation and organization as well as creating a competitive environment. She will look to create a family atmosphere and build and sustain a culture of pride and success that has been a part of Thundering Herd Softball. I have had the opportunity to coach and follow her throughout her coaching career thus far. I couldn't be happier for her and am excited to watch her take the Marshall Softball program forward."