I don’t know Mike Smith personally but when I first started writing about softball I know that I sent out request to every SEC team and only three head coaches agreed to an interview with me. They were Smith along with Rachel Lawson (Kentucky) and Jo Evans (Texas A&M). That showed me that these three haven’t forgotten their roots and were willing to take time out of their busy schedules to help someone out who was just getting started.
I also know from being a follower of Smith on Twitter that he is a man of strong faith. I think that was part of the problem with his coaching job at Ole Miss and ultimate leaving. It can be hard at times walking the thin line of being true to your faith in a secular environment when people are looking to take you down.
It all started back in late October\November 2019 when Ole Miss announced that then head coach Mike Smith would be put on paid administrative leave. As usual when these things happen no details were given why the leave other then that the university was doing an internal audit of the softball program. Fast forward to a December 8th press release from Ole Miss stating that Smith had resigned as Ole Miss head coach and would be replaced by team assistant coach Ruben Felix as the interim head coach for the upcoming 2020 season.
Smith took over what was a fledgling softball program at Ole Miss and in his five seasons there made Ole Miss a perennial playoff powerhouse. Over his five seasons as head coach there he had an overall record of 187-112 that included four NCAA Regionals appearances (twice hosting) and two Super Regional appearances. Smith also helped bring the team their first ever SEC Championship to Ole Miss in 2017.
Ole Miss athletics director Keith Carter said, “We are committed to a healthy culture and overall experience for our student-athletes,” said Carter. “Our primary focus is to foster success for everyone involved with our program, on and off the field, while continuing our rise as one of the premier softball programs in the nation. Coach Smith helped establish our softball program as a national contender and we wish him all the best.”
Smith should have no problem finding another head coaching job if he wants to continue coaching with his coaching talents that can’t be disputed by what he’s done with the Ole Miss softball program.
I wish Mike the best of luck and hope to see him coaching again real soon.