This archived article was written by: Karli Morris
New to the USU Eastern baseball coaching staff is assistant coach KC Smurthwaite. This is Smurthwaite’s first year coaching at Eastern. When asked why he wanted to coach for Eastern, Smurthwaite responded, “Eastern gave me an opportunity to do something that I love.” He also works as part of game management for Eastern Athletics, working closely with Eastern Athletic Director, Dave Paur. Smurthwaite is receiving realistic experience, as his career goal is to be the athletic director at a college. He then went on to explain that USU Eastern has provided him with an opportunity to gain experience that he cannot receive in a classroom. “Most people my age don’t have the opportunity for experience like this,” said Smurthwaite.
Eastern Baseball Head Coach, Scott Madsen is excited to have Smurthwaite as part of his coaching staff. He expressed this by saying, “KC is a tremendous asset to our program and school. He is constantly trying to make improvements in both areas. He has come in to the program and given everyone around him the energy and desire to succeed in what they are doing. We hope to keep KC around for a long time, but with his desire and drive, I see him moving onto much bigger things than we could ever provide for him at this level. He is going to do great things for our school and athletic programs. We are excited to have him for as long as we get him.”
When asked what he feels Smurthwaite’s strength as a baseball coach is,Madsen explained, “KC’s biggest strength would have to be his ability to recruit. His ability to gather information on prospective players is well above any that I have seen before. Along with this he has a great personality that allows him to get along with anyone that he comes in contact with.” Kort Christofferson, a sophomore on the Eastern baseball team said, “His strength as a coach is that he is always the one keeping everybody up and involved. You’ll always see Coach “Smurf” cheering for everybody no matter what the situation is.”
One thing some people dispute is that Coach Smurthwaite, who turns 22 this month, is the same age as some of the players that he coaches. However, this doesn’t seem to be a problem as far as Coach Madsen, Athletic Director, Dave Paur and players Corey McKendrick, and Kort Christofferson are concerned. Referring to Smurthwaite’s young age, McKendrick said, “ I think it helps in some instances because he keeps the fun. “It’s great having a young coach around like “Smurf”. We look at him as a friend and a coach. He just seems like another one of the guys, and the team loves that about him,” said Christofferson.
Smurthwaite has had the opportunity of acting as head coach for two of the preseason games. When asked about having the title and responsibilities Coach Smurthwaite expressed the pressure he feels of making a decision that will best benefit the team. The team won both of these games. Speaking of these wins, Smurthwaite said jokingly, “I have the highest winning percentage of any head coach in CEU history with 1000 percent, 2-0 record; maybe I should retire now.”
These games are only a prelude to his official head-coaching debut January 28, 2012. The team opens up their official season against Utah State University that day. The Golden Eagles will be without Head Coach Scott Madsen, who will be serving a two game suspension. Acting as head coach for the first two games of the season will most likely break a National Junior College Athletic Association record for youngest head coach for a NJCAA Division 1 team.
Coach Smurthwaite’s goal for the season is to “leave the Eastern baseball team better than I found it. My goal is 30 or more wins and to help build, not only, the baseball program, but athletics department as a whole. I love this place, and the people I work with, like coaches Madsen and Paur.”