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Bethune-Cookman completes Coaching Staff

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Moving full-steam into his first year as the new Head Coach of the Wildcats’ baseball program, Jason Beverlin has made the first of his finishing touches on the changing of the guard, completing his coaching staff with the talents of Barrett Shaft and Kenny Smith.

“Both Barrett and Kenny bring a lot of things to the table, especially from an experience standpoint, being coaches who have been successful in their own playing careers,” said Beverlin. “Both experienced a high level of success in college and earned the chance to move on and play professional baseball.”

Both assistants serve as an outstanding compliment to Beverlin’s extensive pitching experience, with both bringing in numerous honors from their playing positions in their careers. Both Shaft and Smith also have a demonstrated prowess for hitting, helping to continue B-CU’s tradition as a solid hitting squad.

Barrett Shaft enters comes into the 2011-12 school year as a first-year assistant coach, joining the Wildcats in working with the team’s hitters and taking charge of B-CU’s outfielders and first basemen.

“Being the all-time hits leader at Western Carolina, Coach Shaft obviously knows a lot about hitting,” said Beverlin, “and what it takes to be successful from both a mechanical and approach standpoint. He’s a tireless worker, and he’ll be there until the last guy gets done in that cage to make sure our guys continue to get better; to get the most out of each player.”

Shaft came to Bethune-Cookman from the University of Tennessee, where he was the volunteer assistant coach in the 2011 season and was previously a manager for the Volunteers.

Originally from Lilburn, Ga., Shaft enjoyed a spectacular collegiate career with the Catamounts of Western Carolina, finishing as the school’s career leader in hits with 336 and eighth in the program annals with a .362 batting average. He also ranks among the top-10 in career at-bats, games played, runs scored, doubles, total bases, hit by pitches, sacrifice flies and sacrifice bunts.

Shaft wrapped up his very successful playing career in 2007, during which he earned a number of accolades, including being named to the 2008 preseason All-Southern Conference First Team, 2008 Brooks Wallace Player of the Year Award Watch List and 2007 All-Southern Conference Second Team. Shaft was also tabbed as the fastest baserunner in the SoCon in the 2006 preseason issue of Baseball America.

Shaft received a Bachelor’s degree in Sport Management from Western Carolina in 2008 and wrapped up his Masters in Sport Psychology at Tennessee before making the move to Daytona Beach.

Following his collegiate career, Shaft played professionally with the Midwest Sliders of the independent Frontier League in 2008.

Kenny Smith joins the Wildcats’ program fresh off two seasons as a volunteer assistant coach at UNC-Asheville, where he helped to coach second baseman Jordan Lurie to All-Conference honors. Smith will also work with the hitters and will focus his defensive efforts on B-CU’s infielders.

“He brings a tremendous amount of baseball knowledge to the program, growing up in a baseball family,” said Beverlin of Smith. “His dad is very well renowned as a Hall of Fame coach, and growing up in that setting impressed a lot on Kenny. I expect he will do a great job in passing that knowledge along to the players.”

Smith was the 2007 Southern Conference Player-of-the-Year at Western Carolina, helping to lead the Catamounts, along with Coach Shaft, to the championship game of the Chapel Hill Regional. Smith fired off a team-high 20 home runs and WCU Single Season Record Holder in RBI and Total Bases, earning him second team ABCA All-American honors, as well as ABCA All-Atlantic Region, a spot on the NCAA All Regional Team, Western Carolina Male Athlete of the Year, and the WCU Triple Crown. He graduated from WCU with his Masters in Accountancy.

He played at UNC Wilmington for three seasons before graduating with his degree in Accounting and transferring to Western Carolina. He helped lead the Seahawks to the 2006 Colonial Athletic Association title, hitting .286 with 16 doubles and 28 RBI. Smith played on two championship teams and was a part of two Regional appearances at UNCW.

Following his collegiate playing career, he played with Texas Rangers Organization making stops in Spokane, Wash. and Clinton, Iowa.

With the coaching staff in place and the roster set for the upcoming season, the Coach Beverlin and the Wildcats now turn their attention to the 2012 season, and he feels his new coaches will have a strong connection with the players. B-CU opens its fall practices on September 24th.

“They’ll do an outstanding job in teaching our guys and passing along their knowledge and experience,” Beverlin noted in conclusion, “plus both are also very eager to get out on the road and put in a tremendous amount of work recruiting. “

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