Britt Smith is entering his eleventh season as the Head Coach at Howard College and his eighth year as the Director of Athletics. 2013 ended a four year run as WJCAC Champions for the Hawks as they spent 45 of their 60 games on the road due to renovations to Jack Barber Field. The Hawks posted a 37-23 record in 2013 and extended the longest consecutive post season streak in Region V by reaching the playoffs yet again, despite not having a home field to practice on for 8 months.In 2012, Howard became the first school in conference history to win the conference title four years in a row with an impressive 112-16 record in conference play during that span. Coach Smith has compiled an overall record of 432-148 at Howard. In his ten seasons at the helm of the Howard program the Hawks have produced fifteen NJCAA All-Americans: Roberto Martinez (2004), Darby Brown (2005), Tyler Ladendorf (2008), Travis Sample (2008), Matt Curry (2008), Will Calhoun (2009), Zach Neal (2009), Miles Hamblin (2009), Joe Leftridge (2010), Burch Smith (2010) Tyler Collins (2011), Landon Steinhagen (2011), Logan Ehlers (2012), Jordan Allen (2012), and Elliot Richoux (2012). In addition, the Hawks have produced the American Baseball Coaches Association National Player of the Year in back to back seasons, Tyler Collins (2011) and Jordan Allen (2012). Howard has also been well represented with twenty-one players earning All-Southwest District, twenty-six players earning All-Region V, and fifty-eight players named WJCAC All-Conference. A Howard player has won the Rawlings Southwest District Hitter of the Year Award in six of Smith’s ten seasons in Big Spring. Roberto Martinez won the award in 2004 by hitting .448, 7 HR, 17 doubles and 70 RBI. Darby Brown turned the trick in 2005 by hitting .508, 17 HR, 27 doubles and 87 RBI and Tyler Ladendorf captured the title in 2008. Ladendorf, a 2nd
round pick (60th
overall) of the Minnesota Twins, led the nation with a .542 average and hit 16 HR, 29 doubles and drove in 84 runs. Will Calhoun joined the club in 2009 finishing the regular season with a .527 average, tops in the nation, 25 doubles and 10 home runs. Calhoun also doubled on the mound as a closer posting an 8-0-3 record with a 0.33 ERA. Tyler Collins won the award in 2011 after posting a .488 average, leading the nation with 19 homeruns, clubbing a school record 34 doubles and driving in 82 runs. Jordan Allen followed that with a nation’s best .519 average, 24 doubles, 9 homeruns and led the country with 73 runs batted in. Howard has had the WJCAC Homerun leader in seven of Smith’s ten seasons at the helm of the Hawks. The program has produced the Conference Most Valuable Player in 6 of those campaigns with Jordan Allen regonized in 2012. Tyler Collins earned the award in 2011 joining Joe Leftridge (2010), Monk Kreder (2009), Tyler Ladendorf (2008) and Darby Brown (2005). Southpaw Logan Ehlers was named Most Valuable Pitcher of the WJCAC in 2012 which was the fourth such award for the Hawks. Michael Franco (2011), Burch Smith (2010) and Zach Neal (2009) were the first of four consecutive Hawk pitchers to win the award. Rawlings has recognized five Hawks with the prestigious Gold Glove Award since 2009. Catcher, Miles Hamblin and Center Fielder Runey Davis were members of the Rawlings Gold Glove Team in 2009, Center Fielder Joe Leftridge was selected in 2010 and left fielders Tyler Collins and Jordan Allen were awarded in 2011 and 2012 respectively. In 2009, Runey Davis was selected by Easton as the National Defensive Player of the Year as well for his efforts in the field. Offensively, Howard has ranked in the top 5 in the nation in nine of Smith’s ten years and the 2008, 2009 and 2011 squads won National Team Batting Titles. The Hawks have been ranked number 1 in the nation in five consecutive seasons at one point or another from 2008 to 2012. Howard College Baseball finished a five year run with 247 wins against 45 defeats and posted two impressive winning streaks in that span. The 2009 National Championship team won a record 57 straight games to open the season and the Hawks also put together a stretch of 53 consecutive conference wins between 2008 and 2010.
The Hawks gained national recognition with a 63-1 record in 2009. Howard claimed the NJCAA National Championship which was the second national title for the school. The Howard Baseball Program received national attention for another reason in 2009, as they ran the table in the regular season going 54-0. This is longest undefeated regular season in college baseball history. The winning streak extended to 57 consecutive wins surpassing the previous record of 55 by Seminole State College (OK) set in 1987. This is the longest winning streak in college baseball history at any level of play. Smith was honored with WJCAC, NJCAA Southwestern District and NJCAA National Coach of the Year Awards. The Western Junior Athletic Conference has selected Smith as the Coach of the Year on four occasions from 2009 – 2012. Coach Smith served as an officer in the Texas-New Mexico Junior College Coaches Association from 2005 through 2010 including a two year term as president in 2009-2010. Currently, Smith serves as the Baseball Athletic Chair for the WJCAC as a representative of NJCAA Region V.
The Howard program has taken an interest in community service as well under the guidance of Coach Smith. The Hawks have made numerous trips to local elementary schools to take part in reading programs and helped with fund raising programs for these schools. With the help of local businessman Mike Abusaab the Hawks have raised money for Relay for Life. Abusaab has made a donation for each homerun the Hawks have tallied over the past ten seasons and together a total of $5,915 has been raised in their efforts. Howard College has also been involved with the Susan G. Komen Foundation for breast cancer research. The Annual Breast Cancer Awareness Game at Jack Barber Field has been sponsored by D-Bat, Bear Claw Knives, Burns Graphics and many others in an effort to raise money for the Susan G. Komen Foundation. To date the Hawks have helped raise $4,622 in an effort to battle breast cancer and raise awareness for the cause. Howard started a new annual event in 2011 honoring those who have served our country with a Military Appreciation Day on Saturday April 23rd against conference rival New Mexico Junior College. The Hawks were honored to have veterans Bob Underwood, T.C. Stockwell, and Bobby Brasel throw out first pitches that weekend. In 2012, the Hawks looked internally to recognize students at Howard College that have served their country proudly and honored Student Government Association Vice-President and Howard College Diplomat Michael Martinez and Frank Garza for their service in our armed forces.
Smith, a native of Mobile, Alabama, served as an assistant coach from 1996 through 2003 at the Division I, Division II, NAIA, and NJCAA levels of competition. He began his coaching Career at West Texas A&M University where he served as an assistant to Coach Todd Howey from 1996-1998. While in Canyon, the Buffaloes earned national recognition by leading the NCAA Division II in team batting average (.383), doubles, RBI’s, and runs per game. After the 1998 season, Smith accepted a position as the pitching coach at Lubbock Christian University. The Chaparrals posted a 52-19 record in his only season at LCU. Smith’s pitching staff included All-American Paco Escamilla, who led the nation in strikeouts per game at 14.9. The Chaps finished ranked in the top 10 nationally and had six players move on to play professionally. Coach Smith then accepted a position at Texas Tech University where he stayed from 1999-2001. While at Tech, the Red Raiders finished 4th and 2nd in the Big XII respectively, advancing to NCAA Regional play during both campaigns, and finishing the 2001 season ranked 21st in the country. Coach Smith then moved to Howard College as an assistant and helped lead the Hawks to the NJCAA Region V Tournament berth in his first season. Upon becoming the Hawks Head Coach in 2003, Smith turned over the pitching duties to become the hitting and defensive instructor. In his seven seasons as the hitting coach, the Hawks have established new school records in twelve offensive categories and have finished in the top 5 in the nation in team batting average in all nine campaigns. Smith took over the pitching duties again in 2011and the Hawks have been the tops in ERA, runs allowed, strikeouts, and opponent batting average against for the last two campaigns in the WJCAC.
Smith played for Fort Worth Arlington Heights High School under Head Coach Tommy Elliot. After stops at Stephen F. Austin State and Murray State, Smith finished his playing career in 1996 with a school record .396 batting average while being named an All Lone Star Conference outfielder at West Texas A&M. During his tenure in Canyon, Smith set conference and school records for hits in a game (6) and walks in a game (5).
Coach Smith graduated from West Texas A&M with a bachelor’s degree of Kinesiology in 1996 and a master’s degree in Sports and Exercise Sciences in 1998. He married the former Wendy Morris of Tyler, Texas in July of 1999. The couple has three children, Bailey Nicole (10), Logan Joseph (8) and Berkley Elizabeth (3).