Riverside—UC Riverside Baseball Coach Doug Smith announced today that he is retiring after nearly 40 years with the program including the last 10 as the team’s head coach. Highlanders Pitching Coach Bobby Applegate has been named the team’s interim head coach, and a national search for Coach Smith’s fulltime replacement will begin immediately.
“I’ve been honored and privileged to be a part of UC Riverside and the Highlanders baseball program for 36 years,” said Smith, “and during that time I have been fortunate to be surrounded by great mentors, great peers, and great student-athletes. I have been a very lucky man. I look forward to continuing my relationship with UC Riverside Athletics, this time as a fan and supporter.”
Over his 36-year career, Smith has played in or coached more than 2000 games for the Highlanders, and his team’s won 280 games during his 10-year head coaching career. In 2007, he was named Big West Conference Coach of the Year after leading UC Riverside to its first Big West Conference Baseball Championship, and its second trip to the NCAA Division I Baseball Tournament.
“It was just a few short years ago that we inducted what we called the Mount Rushmore of UC Riverside Athletics coaches and administrators into our Athletics Hall of Fame” said Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Jim Wooldridge, “and I think it is fair to say that Doug belongs right there alongside Dr. Frank Lindeberg, Ray Dalke, Don Edwards, Sue Gozansky, John Masi, Chris Rinne and Jack Smitheran.
“In addition to being a tremendous leader on this campus and in our department, he has been a true friend to the Riverside community. We are going to miss seeing him the dugout next spring, but he leaves the program in great shape, and the future of UC Riverside Baseball remains bright.”
Smith came to UC Riverside as a junior in the fall of 1973, and served as the team’s catcher for two seasons while earning his bachelor’s degree in sociology and political science.
From 1976-80, Smith served as a part-time assistant coach with the Highlanders while pursuing his master’s degree in physical education from Cal Poly Pomona. During that time, the UC Riverside Baseball Team won its first of two national championships (1977).
After taking three years off to venture into private business, Smith returned to the Highlanders in 1983 and has been on the staff ever since. Jack Smitheran retired as UC Riverside’s head baseball coach following the 2004 campaign, and Smith was named as his replacement on September 2, 2004.