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Sunday, April 14
The Indiana Daily Student

sports baseball

Coaches Smith, Googins are friends off the field

Best friends.

That’s how IU baseball Coach Tracy Smith described his relationship with Xavier Coach Scott Googins on Tuesday after Xavier defeated the Hoosiers 11-3.

“He is just an awesome guy,” Smith said. “At the end of the game, when it’s all said and done, he’s still my best friend, and I wish him luck on the weekends. There’s only one time that I hope they lose, and that was today.”

The friendship started when Smith was hired by IU as the baseball team’s pitching coach — Googins — was an assistant coach on the team.

With Smith and Googins on the staff, the 1996 Hoosiers baseball team would record
the Big Ten’s lowest ERA, win the Big Ten Tournament and collect IU’s first-ever NCAA tournament win.

In 2001, Smith, who was hired as head coach of the Miami University (Ohio) baseball team after the 1996 season, brought Googins onto his staff as an assistant who primarily focused on the outfield.

During Googins’ four seasons at Miami (Ohio) with Smith, the RedHawks went to four straight Mid-American Conference Tournaments.

In 2005, Smith and Googins led the RedHawks to a 45-18 mark — Smith’s second 40-win season at Miami (Ohio). The RedHawks captured the MAC regular season and tournament championships and advanced to the NCAA Tournament, where the team set an NCAA Regional record with 35 runs in a 35-8 victory against Quinnipiac University.

Googins said that although he cannot pinpoint one specific thing he learned from Smith as a coach, he said he always tries to emulate the way Smith has won throughout his career.

“He has been one of my mentors,” Googins said. “He does such a good job with his teams because they are fundamentally sound, and they usually win. It’s my first time I’ve won here since I’ve left Bloomington, so it’s a little bittersweet.”

After the 2005 season, Googins and Smith have gone their own ways. Googins was hired by Xavier in 2006 and has led the Musketeers to five straight 20-win seasons, including two 30-win seasons in the past three years.

As to Smith, the coach is now in his seventh season as IU’s head coach. In 2009, he led IU to its first Big Ten Tournament title since 1996 and the second NCAA Tournament appearance in the school’s history.

While both coaches have enjoyed success in different places, they continue to contact each other often during the season to bounce ideas off each other and catch up on the week’s events.

“What I love about Scott is that he is a tremendously positive guy, and I want to be like that,” Smith said. “He is one of the most positive people you will ever meet.”

As both coaches continue to build their own programs, Googins said he hopes he can learn from Smith’s ability to develop people — not just players.

“He keeps the game in perspective, which is something that I have taken from him because it’s about the people and the guys in the program,” Googins said. “It’s not all about the wins and losses, it’s about developing relationships and people. I think he does a great job of developing people.”

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