LSU baseball has its new volunteer.

The school announced Tuesday afternoon that it has hired former Tulane assistant Eddie Smith to be its new volunteer/hitting coach. Smith, who played under coach Paul Mainieri at Notre Dame, replaces former LSU standout Sean Ochinko in that role.

“We’re extremely excited to add Eddie Smith to our staff, and we’re very fortunate to have him,” Mainieri said in a statement. “Eddie is a very experienced coach with a proven track record of success. He combines his intelligence and coaching ability with a tremendous work ethic, and he is going to be a very impactful asset to our program.”

Smith, 35, worked as Tulane’s hitting coach and recruiting coordinator for the past two seasons. Under his direction, the Green Wave set American Athletic Conference records this season for home runs (89), batting average (.302), runs per game (7.69), runs scored (446), total bases (1,055), slugging percentage (.518), extra-base hits (241) and walks per game (4.88).

Smith played for Mainieri during his final two seasons as coach at Notre Dame in 2005-06. Ochinko played for LSU in Mainieri's first three seasons, including in the 2009 College World Series when he hit a team-best .368 in helping the Tigers win a national championship. Ochinko was with LSU's staff for three seasons overall.

“I’d like to thank Sean Ochinko, one of the all-time great players at LSU, for his work on our staff the past three seasons,” Mainieri said. “He has contributed so much to our program both as a player and as a coach.”

In 13 seasons as a college coach, Smith has instructed 48 players that were chosen in the major league amateur draft, including 23 selected in the top 10 rounds. A total of 13 players he coached have made it to the major leagues. Smith’s pupils at Tulane included 2019 first-round draft choice and first-team all-American Kody Hoese, and 2019 first-team Freshman all-American Hudson Haskin.

A native of Olympia, Washington, Smith spent four seasons as head coach at Lower Columbia College in Longview, Washington. He also served as an assistant coach at Virginia, Notre Dame and Santa Clara.

As head coach at Lower Columbia from 2014-17, Smith led the Red Devils to three straight West Region titles and Northwest Athletic Conference championships in 2015 and 2017. He was named the 2015 ABCA/Diamond Pacific Association Division National Coach of the Year. In addition, 27 players received Division I opportunities after playing at Lower Columbia, and the 2015 team finished the season ranked No. 10 in the country.

Smith began coaching as an assistant at Virginia, where he helped the program emerge as a national power, earning three ACC Championships and two College World Series appearances from 2007-11.

In 2012 he joined the Santa Clara coaching staff as the hitting and third base coach, and he then became an assistant coach at Notre Dame in 2013. Smith has also had stints in international coaching, spending time in the Dominican Republic, Aruba and Japan while also having played games in Russia and Canada. In 2015, he was a member of the USA Baseball staff as an assistant coach with the 17U U.S. National Team Development Program.

As a player, Smith spent two years at Notre Dame, where he helped the Fighting Irish to two Big East Conference championships and NCAA tournament appearances, including a No. 8 national ranking as a senior in 2006. He received his bachelor’s degree in Spanish from Notre Dame in 2006, and earned All-Big East academic honors.

Smith began his college playing career at Centralia (Washington) Community College, helping the Trailblazers set a school record for wins in 2004. He was inducted into the Centralia College Sports Hall of Fame in 2012.

LSU is limited to having two full-time paid assistants: pitching coach Alan Dunn and recruiting coordinator Nolan Cain. A Southeastern Conference-sponsored proposal to allow schools the discretion to add a third paid assistant for baseball and softball was voted down in April by the NCAA Division I Council.


Email Scott Rabalais at srabalais@theadvocate.com