NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Belmont University Director of Athletics Scott Corley announced Friday the hiring of Megan Rhodes Smith as the 12th head softball coach in program history.
"Megan Smith is uniquely qualified to lead our softball program," Corley said. "She brings tremendous credibility with her championship pedigree as a player and coach. But beyond her credentials and local ties, Megan's appreciation for a well-rounded student-athlete experience was perfectly suited for our program. We look forward to supporting Megan as softball builds on recent success."
Smith comes to the helm of the Bruins after spending the last six seasons focusing on the development of pitchers and catchers at Lipscomb University, with the last two years serving as the program's associate head coach.
During her tenure at LU, Smith has had immediate and long-lasting impact assisting in the build up to the program's recent successes. Most recently, the Lady Bisons made appearances in the 2019 and 2014 NCAA Regional tournaments after clinching Atlantic Sun tournament titles.
The team saw individuals garner accolades as well, with four pitchers under her guidance earning Atlantic Sun All-Conference honors, thanks to finishing in the conference's top five in strikeouts, earned run average (ERA) and wins. In 2018, the Lady Bisons pitching staff finished the season ranked 23rd nationally in ERA. Additionally, the corps led the Atlantic Sun in strikeouts in 2016 and 2017.
Results came swiftly in Smith's first season at LU with the pitching staff seeing major improvements in ERA (2.81 to 2.31), record (35-24 to 41-15), opposing batting average (.249 to .226), runs allowed (201 to 153), hits allowed (425 to 323) and homeruns allowed (37 to 28).
Before joining the Lipscomb staff, she spent one season at Western Kentucky. During her stint with the Hilltoppers, the program boasted a 43-18 overall record and earned its first at large bid into the NCAA Tournament.
Smith also has previously served as an assistant coach at both Middle Tennessee State and Charleston Southern, helping the latter to its first 30-win season in program history.
"I am honored to have the opportunity to coach the Bruin softball team," said Smith. "Throughout the entire interview process, I have been blown away by the care, professionalism, and commitment to excellence shown by everyone in the athletics department. I am grateful to Dr. Fisher, Athletic Director Scott Corley, SWA Renee Schultz and the entire search committee for their trust and confidence in me and look forward to continuing to build upon the success of the previous coaching staff. I couldn't ask for a better place to incorporate my faith into my program."
A standout at Nashville's David Lipscomb High School, she went on to play four seasons for perennial powerhouse the University of Tennessee, leaving the program ranked second all-time in strikeouts (726), third in wins (67) and fourth in innings pitched (570.1). Smith posted an overall record of 67-22 for a .753 winning percentage and also had a 1.77 earned run average, both rank fourth best all-time. She made 135 appearances inside the circle, earning 96 starts for the Lady Vols.
She also helped UT make three appearances in the Women's College World Series.
Continuing her excellence into the classroom, Smith earned SEC Honor Roll distinction for three years, culminating with a 3.8 grade point average. She went on to earn a master's degree in sports studies with a concentration in sports psychology from the University of Tennessee in 2009.
Smith and her husband, Kevin, have two daughters, Jillene and Jesslyn, and live in Nashville.