COALINGA, Calif. - West Hills College Coalinga has announced Jason Smith as its new head coach of the Falcons baseball program.
Smith officially started his full-time position on Dec. 1, and he is busy recruiting a team roster and building his first coaching staff.
He will be teaching classes in physical education, athletics, and sports psychology.
"I look forward to coaching at West Hills and in the Central Valley, where there is quality baseball at all levels," Smith said.
"This is an exciting opportunity to build a program and help our student-athletes reach their goals. I've been fortunate to work alongside some great mentors, including coaches, faculty members, and administrators. With the experience and knowledge I have gained at previous colleges, I look forward to joining my new colleagues at WHCC and helping the campus grow in different areas."
Since 2015, Smith was the associate head baseball coach at Fullerton College, where he also served as interim head coach last season. In 2016, he helped the team reach the CCCAA Super Regionals.
From 2004-2010, he was the associate head baseball coach at Irvine Valley College, where he worked in every facet of a program that qualified for the Super Regionals twice.
"Jason brings a strong background in both teaching and coaching in the California Community College system," said WHCC associate dean of athletics Eric Mendoza.
"He has a great track record of helping students succeed both in the classroom and on the field. Jason was impressive during our selection process and he comes highly regarded from outstanding institutions and athletic departments in Orange County. We are excited for our program, as Jason begins to build his connections in the Central Valley and assist our learning areas with his academic experience."
From 1995-2002, Smith coached at his alma mater Chapman University, serving as assistant coach and recruiting coordinator. He helped Chapman reach the postseason five times, including the NCAA Division III World Series in 1997 and 2001.
In between college coaching jobs, he was also the head coach at Laguna Hills High School (2015); Orange County Riptide Collegiate Baseball (2015); Legit Baseball 18-Under (2005-2012, 2014); Frozen Ropes Baseball Academy (2013); Costa Mesa High School (2011-2012); La Quinta High School (2010-11); and Orange County Scorpions Collegiate Baseball (2000-01) in addition to being a director and instructor at various camps and clinics.
Smith started his coaching career at Orange Coast College (1999-2000). His collegiate playing career started at California Lutheran University, before he transferred to OCC and Chapman.
Over the years, Smith has coached players selected in the MLB Draft, including Andrew Tisdale (Rangers), Shane Carrier (Twins), Jeff Blitstein (Astros), and Josh Whitesell (Diamondbacks); another player Chris Jakubauskas (undrafted) reached the major leagues as a pitcher for the Mariners and Orioles.
Smith earned a Master’s of Education/Teaching Credential – Cross Cultural Teaching degree from National University; a Master’s of Physical Education from Azusa Pacific University; a Bachelor of Arts in American History from Chapman University; and an Associate in Arts from Orange Coast College.
At Fullerton College, Smith was an instructor for: Introduction to Kinesiology, Wellness: Kinesiology, Swim For Fitness, Weight Lifting, Fitness Testing With Exercise Prescription, Boot Camp, Psychology of Sport, and Beginning & Intermediate Volleyball.
At Irvine Valley College, he was assigned: Health 1, Health 2: CPR and First Aid, Introduction to Physical Education, Marketing Techniques for Fitness Specialist, Simple Strategies of Weight Management, Nutrition for Sport and Fitness, Survey and Assessment of Fitness, Theory of Coaching Baseball, Life Fitness Center (community-based weight and cardio training center), and Intramural Activities.
Smith also developed curriculum at IVC in the following areas: Introduction to Physical Education, Nutrition for Sport and Fitness, Survey and Assessment of Fitness, Marketing Techniques for Fitness Specialist, Simple Strategies of Weight Management and Distance Education.
In 2013, he was also a PE/Kinesiology adjunct instructor at two schools in Texas (El Centro College in Dallas; and Tarrant County Community College in Fort Worth).
Smith and his wife, Kim, have four children.
WHAT THEY'RE SAYING ABOUT COACH JASON SMITH
Fullerton College - Head Coach NICK FUSCARDO: "Jason is an experienced and dynamic coach, who understands the game of baseball very well. He is committed to excellence and has great rapport with student-athletes. He has a desire to be successful every day. The West Hills College Coalinga baseball program is in excellent hands."
Irvine Valley College - Dean of Kinesiology, Health and Athletics KEITH SHACKLEFORD: "Jason has been an invaluable asset to Irvine Valley College. Obviously his impact on our baseball program was profound, as his keen baseball mind and ability to recruit talented prospective student-athletes made him an important part of Coach Kent Madole's talented staff. And at our level, Jason's breadth and depth of skill as an instructor in our Kinesiology classes, in curriculum development, participatory governance and student services was equally important to our program's substance and integrity. He will be missed as a professional, but even more so as a friend and colleague."
(Courtesy West HIlls Coalinga Athletics)