Interview with Steve Smith, Baylor University Baseball Team Coach
"For the eyes of Yahweh roam throughout the earth to show Himself strong for those whose hearts are completely His..." - 2 Chronicles 16:9
Twenty seasons and more than 700 victories as head coach of the Baylor baseball team haven't dampened Steve Smith's competitive drive. In fact, they've only emboldened the wise coaching sage in his desire to see his players grow as young men in their individual faith under his watch.
FCA: How did you get into coaching?
SS: When I was about 21, I was hopeful that I had plenty of playing days left in me, but I felt the Lord was calling me into coaching. The only question for me was not if I should coach, but what I should coach. I'm not really cut out to be a baseball coach at all. I was cut out to be a football coach. My first instinct to solve any problem is to attack it. In a lot of ways, being a football coach would have fit me way better, but it probably would not have changed me. I think this game was meant in my life to change me.
It has been much more challenging in every way, especially in a spiritual sense, than playing ever was. One of my players made such a profound case out of Ro-mans 5: that God takes the things we love-because those are the things that create pressure in our lives-and He uses them to develop us, our character, our perseverance and our faith.
FCA: How has that perspective applied to your 20 years as a head coach?
SS: We're called to have the mind of Christ, so I pray that I will see everything as God's attempt to teach me something. Some of the most difficult times that I've gone through as a coach have made me ask the Lord what He was trying to teach me, because I didn't want to miss it. I take advantage of the opportunity to share that with my players.
FCA: How are you able to integrate your faith into your coaching?
SS: Through the years I've become more intentional about issues of faith with our team and individual players. I've never compartmentalized my life as Steve the coach, Steve the father, or Steve the husband. The Lord is the Lord of all of my life, and I'm grateful for that. I'm grateful for not ever having been in a place in my life where I felt separated from the love of God.
I ask the Lord to lead me every day as I follow Him. I'm not asking for the Lord to follow me and bless all my good plans and all my hard work and good efforts. I'm asking Him to lead me, and that I would be faithful to Him and follow Him.
FCA: What does your successful coaching career mean to you compared to knowing the Lord?
SS: All of the meaning in my life is found only in the Lord. There's no meaning outside of Him. I'm just here for a brief time, but I'm important to the Lord and He loves me. He's making my time here really cool and special, but apart from Him it is absolutely meaningless. I'm blessed that I've known that truth for a long time.
He is always here with us-His presence, His activity, His intentionality, what He's about, His love for us, His passion. Through my life, I've learned everything that happens is for my good and His glory.
Family: Wife - Melinda
Children - Ryan and Case
Head Coaching Career:
•Baylor University - 1994-Present
•USA Baseball National Team - 2005
•2005 College World Series participant
•Three-time Big 12 Conference Champion (2000, 2005, 2012)
•Five-time Big 12 Conference Coach of the Year (1998, 1999, 2000, 2005, 2012)
FCA Staff Quote:
"When you spend time with Coach Smith, you can tell he reads God's Word. Reaching his players' hearts and helping to mature young men is something he has consistently strived to do as a coach for as long as I have known him."
Multi-Area Director, Heart of Texas FCA
© 2014FCA magazine May 2014
Photos courtesy of Baylor Photography